Лекция: The U.S. Situation
Overall, the United States has plenty of fresh water, but much of its annual runoff is not in the desired place, occurs at the wrong time, or is contaminated from agricultural and industrial activities. Most of the eastern half of the country usually has ample average annual precipitation, while much of the western half has too little. Many major urban centers in the United States are located in areas that already have inadequate water or are projected to have water shortages.
In the eastern half of the United States, where there is usually no shortage of water, the major problems are flooding, inability to supply enough water to some large urban areas, and increasing pollution of rivers, lakes, and groundwater. For example, 3 million residents of Long Island, New York, must draw all their water from an underground aquifer that is becoming severely contaminated by industrial wastes, leaking septic tanks and landfills, and salt water from the ocean, which is drawn into the aquifer when fresh water is withdrawn.
The major water problem in arid and semiarid areas in the western half of the country is a shortage of runoff due to low average precipitation, high rates of evaporation, prolonged periodic drought, and rapidly declining water tables as farmers and cities deplete groundwater aquifers faster than they are recharged. Present water shortages and conflicts over water supplies will get much worse if more industries and people migrate west as projected and compete with farmers for scarce water.
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