Water Supply

February 15, 1950

Report Outline
Mounting Concern Over Water Shortages
Measures to Remedy Water Shortages
Action to Avert Future Shortages
Special Focus

Mounting Concern Over Water Shortages

Water cannot be taken for granted. This fact, well understood in the western United States, has been brought forcefully to the attention of other sections by the deepening water emergency in the City of New York. Voluntary measures to reduce domestic consumption have failed to produce the necessary saving, and rationing of water to the city's industries is now in early prospect.

The New York emergency is causing other cities to look to their water resources. Baltimore and Washington are seeking loans to extend their water facilities. An engineer of the U. S. Geological Survey told a congressional committee, Jan. 16, that there are “fifty or more places where the situation is not extremely critical right now, but it could be next month or next year.” The places named included parts of New England, the Middle Atlantic states, the Gulf states, and the Middle West.

New York's shortage does not result from any long-term decrease in available water. The last six months have been abnormally dry, but drier periods in 1941 and 1944 brought no call for emergency measures. The real trouble lies in a 25 per cent increase in water use during and since the war. Only abnormally high precipitation in 1947 and 1948 masked the fact that the city was overdrawing the normal storage capacity of its reservoirs. Use must be curtailed until new reservoirs can be completed. Washington can get plenty of water from the Potomac, but the city's water consumption sometimes exceeds the dependable capacity of its conduits from the river by more than ten per cent.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Water Pollution
Jul. 15, 2016  Drinking Water Safety
Oct. 17, 2014  Protecting the Oceans
Jun. 18, 2010  Water Shortages
Aug. 01, 2003  Water Shortages
Nov. 24, 2000  Water Quality
Dec. 15, 1995  Global Water Shortages
Feb. 11, 1994  Water Quality
Apr. 19, 1991  California: Enough Water for the Future?
Jan. 30, 1987  Western Water
Jul. 12, 1985  Preventing Groundwater Contamination
Jan. 14, 1977  Western Water: Coming Crisis
Feb. 15, 1974  Drinking Water Safety
Aug. 11, 1965  Water Resources and National Water Needs
Dec. 08, 1960  Pollution of Water Supplies
Oct. 02, 1959  Water Needs and Resources
Jul. 01, 1955  Water for the Future
Jul. 24, 1953  Water Pollution
Feb. 15, 1950  Water Supply
Oct. 03, 1947  Unclean Waters
Sep. 17, 1935  Stream Pollution and the Disposal of Waste
Water Resources