Aug 28, 2013

Nine U.S. Cities May Have Water Emergencies in 2013

Nine urban areas in the U.S. are under "exceptional drought" conditions

Water Emergencies Exceptional Drought Conditions Waterless New Mexico Texas

Based on data released earlier this month by the U.S. Drought Monitor, nine urban areas in the U.S. are under "exceptional drought" conditions and may experience widespread crop damages, even more severe water restrictions, and water emergencies in coming months.

Of the four rankings, exceptional drought conditions are the most serious, "and typically apply to areas that have had prolonged and persistent drought for several months, if not years," said Klaus Reichardt, CEO and founder of Waterless Co., a manufacturer of no-water urinal systems.

According to the report, conditions are so serious in these nine locations that even if they do have a significant rainfall event, it is likely to have only a marginal impact. "These areas need multiple rainfalls in order to raise water tables and begin to fill reservoirs," Reichardt said.

The cities cited in the report with the most serious water problems in the U.S. as of August 2013 are:

  • Santa Fe, N.M.;
  • Albuquerque, N.M.;
  • Corpus Christi, Texas;
  • Brownsville, Texas;
  • Harlingen, Texas;
  • Colorado Springs, Colo.;
  • McAllen, Texas;
  • Pueblo, Colo.; and
  • Lubbock, Texas.

Most of these cities now have voluntary — some mandatory — water restrictions in place, such as limitations on watering lawns, washing cars, filling swimming pools, etc. However, these restrictions are likely to be increased considerably if conditions do not improve radically.

"The smaller communities are in the most serious predicament, because they typically only have one water source. If that lake or reservoir goes dry, which may happen in certain areas, that's all they have," Reichardt said.

There are some hopeful signs in New Mexico that water conditions will improve. Conditions in Colorado and southern Texas, however, are predicted to persist and even get worse at least into the fall.