The past few years have seen powerful droughts across the United States, with water shortages threatening crop production, shipping traffic, energy production, and groundwater stores. Water scarcity issues are particularly relevant for those living in cities, a demographic that now includes roughly four out of five Americans. Previous research has tallied average daily water needs, estimated at 600 liters per person per day, and the availability of natural renewable water resources. The results suggest that up to 47% of the U.S. population is vulnerable to water scarcity issues. In many cases, urban water managers cope with natural variability through the use of infrastructure designed to pump, import, or store freshwater. Nationwide water resource assessments, however, overlook such infrastructure-based approaches to water management, instead assessing only water derived from local streamflow, runoff, or groundwater storage.
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