Water stress and social vulnerability in the southern United States, 2010-2040This article is part of a larger document. View the larger document here.
Water scarcities are striking in semiarid, subregions of the Southern United States such as Oklahoma and western Texas (Glennon 2009, Sabo et al. 2010). In Texas, water stress has been a constant concern since the 1950s when the state experienced severe drought conditions (Moore 2005). The nearly 2000-mile Rio Grande River, which forms part of the Texas–Mexico border, is the sole source of groundwater for residents and businesses at the far western part of the state. The river also provides water for Ciudad Juarez in Mexico. Because of its strategic location, the Rio Grande is a site of water contestation between United States and Mexican concerns (Szydlowski 2007). To the east, a 3-year, state-level dispute over water rights involved North and South Carolina, as each state struggled to assert rights to the waters of the 225-mile Catawba River, which flows through the two states. The Catawba is a source of domestic water for more than one million residents and provides electricity to nearly double that number of consumers. The dispute was settled amicably in 2010, but these examples illustrate that the oftentimes, taken-for-granted assumptions of freshwater access in industrialized nations are being challenged by decreasing supplies, resulting from both existing and projected climatic changes.
You can order print copies of our publications through our publication ordering system. Make a note of the publication you wish to request, and visit our Publication Order Site.
- This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.
- Our on-line publications are scanned and captured using Adobe Acrobat. During the capture process some typographical errors may occur. Please contact the SRS webmaster if you notice any errors which make this publication unuseable.
- To view this article, download the latest version of Adobe Acrobat Reader.