Facing the Nation’s Water Challenges: Results from Resources for the Future’s Roundtable Series

This report follows a series of stakeholder forums held across the country with water experts, spotlighting the nation’s challenges and concerns about managing water resources.



March 27, 2019



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1 minute

Key Findings

The United States presently faces water challenges from growing population needs and a changing climate, according to a series of stakeholder forums held with water experts across the country.

  • Americans expect clean and reliable surface water and groundwater to be available for the provision of safe drinking water.
  • The quality of fresh water available in America is becoming increasingly problematic.
  • Municipalities and water management agencies struggle with the challenge of drinking water, sewer, and wastewater management obligations. Fragmentation in water governance raises important questions of scale and discussion of the benefits of consolidation.
  • The management of water resources has become increasingly complex due to the impact of drought, floods, and other effects of a changing climate.
  • Nutrient pollution in the form of nitrogen and phosphorus in surface and groundwater present a growing threat to public health and local economies.
  • Affordability and access to safe drinking water is a pressing equity issue that raises important concerns over racial and socioeconomic justice. Policymakers need economic and policy tools to provide reliable clean water to all citizens while ensuring that utilities can cover their costs.
  • Water and sewer infrastructure will require more than one trillion dollars in investments over the next two decades to maintain current levels of service.


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