Water Resources and National Water Needs

August 11, 1965

Report Outline
Water Shortages in East and West
Use and Misuse of Water Resources
State and Federal Wafer Programs

Water Shortages in East and West

A drought affecting the Middle Atlantic and New England states, now in its fourth year, has directed attention to problems of water supply and use in all parts of the country. Although the United States is one of the best-watered nations in the world—rainfall averages around 30 inches a year—water distribution is uneven. Rainfall is more than adequate east of the Mississippi, but it tends to be skimpy elsewhere. And some of the driest regions, notably Arizona and southern California, lead the country in population growth.

A natural abundance of water affords no protection against acute shortages. Pollution of rivers, lakes and underground reservoirs may render them useless for drinking, recreation, or industrial processing. Moreover, inhabitants of water-rich areas consume water so copiously as to be wasteful. When pollution, waste and drought occur at the same time and place, as they now have in the Northeast, the result is a water crisis.

Depletion of Water Supplies of Eastern Cities

The New York metropolitan area has been hard hit by the prolonged northeastern dry spell. The supply of water in New York City's reservoirs in Westchester and Putnam counties and in the Catskill Mountains has been falling steadily. The reservoirs are currently filled to less than 44 per cent of capacity and are in danger of going dry by next February. Northern New Jersey is even worse off; a state conservation commissioner, Robert A. Roe, said on July 7 that Newark's water supply would be exhausted in two months unless supplementary supplies were found. Addressing the people of New York City, July 22, Mayor Robert F. Wagner pointed out that rainfall over the city's watersheds had been 47 inches below normal since 1961. “So within four years, we have lost a full year's precipitation.”

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