Friday, March 25, 2016

Growth in Top 10 U.S. Metros a Challenge for Water Sustainability

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Those of us who follow population trends have been given lots of new data recently as new figures were released recently about population changes in the U.S. For the last decade or so, it looked like sunbelt growth was cooling. However, the new data highlighted by the San Antonio Express News here demonstrates that all of the fastest growing large metros are in the sunbelt region of the U.S. In order of fastest growth to lowest, the top ten are:

1. Austin
2. Orlando
3. Raleigh
4. Houston
5. Las Vegas
6. San Antonio
7. Denver
8. Dallas
9. Nashville
10. Jacksonville

Several of these cities, particularly San Antonio, Austin, Denver, and Las Vegas, have serious water supply problems that will limit their growth. In some cases, especially Las Vegas, the regions are using water resources far beyond their natural carrying capacity. The growth in population may seem like a good idea for community boosters seeking to promote economic development, but providing water to the expanding population will be a significant challenge for water resource managers. It will be difficult, if not impossible, to continue to provide a steady supply of clean and healthy water in many of these places in the coming decades at the current rate of usage.

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