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.
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.
Ann M. Bartuska
Ann M. Bartuska is a senior advisor at RFF. Her research focuses on natural resources and forestry, especially a consideration of natural climate solutions through forests and agricultural lands.
Resources Radio — May 16, 2023
Climate Hits Home: Water Availability in Phoenix, with Kathryn Sorensen
Kathryn Sorensen discusses how water managers in Phoenix, Arizona, have adapted the city’s use of water for a desert climate.
In Focus — Mar 10, 2023
In Focus: Regulating the Waters of the United States
This video shares insights on the recent history of the “Waters of the United States” rule and why the definition of “Waters of the United States” continues to be controversial, with RFF Fellow Hannah Druckenmiller.
Media Highlight — Dec 15, 2022
Scientific American: "How Water Cycles Can Help Prevent Disastrous Floods and Droughts"
A journal article coauthored by Fellow Hannah Druckenmiller on the economic benefits of wetlands is covered in this story by Scientific American.