NEWS NOTES ON SUSTAINABLE WATER RESOURCES Municipal Freshwater Scarcity Government Accountability Office, Municipal Freshwater Scarcity, Report ...

NEWS NOTES ON SUSTAINABLE WATER RESOURCES Municipal Freshwater Scarcity Government Accountability Office, Municipal Freshwater Scarcity, Report to Congressional Requestors, Technology Assessment, GAO 16-474, April 2016. http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-16-474?utm_medium=email&utm_source=govdelivery Water scarcity occurs when the demand for water in a given area approaches or exceeds available water supplies. A water utility facing scarcity may attempt to address it by reducing its demand on existing water supplies, increasing its water supplies, or both. Many mature technologies are available to address both of these areas. For example, a utility could try to improve the efficiency of its distribution system in order to reduce its demand on existing water supplies. Utilities can choose from wide variety of mature technologies to detect leaks, manage pressure, meter water flow, and assess the condition of pipes. Similarly, a utility may be able to increase supplies through choosing from many mature technologies that are available to treat nontraditional water sources such as seawater, brackish water, treated municipal wastewater, or storm water captured from developed surfaces. Based on GAO’s nationwide survey of municipal water utilities, the percentage of utilities that treat nontraditional water sources for municipal use varies significantly across the United States. According to GAO’s statistical analysis, much of this regional variation can be explained by differences in underlying utility and watershed characteristics. In particular, very large utilities, utilities serving water-stressed areas, and utilities that manage additional services such as wastewater or storm water services are most likely to treat nontraditional water sources for municipal use. GAO also analyzed survey data regarding the challenges that municipal water utilities face in treating nontraditional water. The results of that analysis suggest that utilities that have experience treating nontraditional water sources find it easier to address financial, regulatory, and other challenges than utilities that have only studied the feasibility of doing so. This study will also be placed on the 2016 Reports and Publications Page of the Sustainable Water Resources Site at https://sites.google.com/site/sustainablewaterresources/ Tim Smith Sustainable Water Resources Coordinator Government Web Site, http://acwi.gov/ Sustainable Water Resources Site, https://sites.google.com/site/sustainablewaterresources/