Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

What City Will Run Out of Water First?

What City Will Run Out of Water First?

As drought threatens more areas of the world, we're hearing a steady stream of stories about cities, towns and regions whose water supply is interrupted temporarily.

San Antonio, TX, with a population of nearly a million and a half, and a metro population of 2.3 million, faces the threat of running out of water.
Photo credit: Shutterstock

That's led experts to investigate what major world city could be the first to run out of water entirely. And it could be a city right here in the U.S.

A study done at the Environmental Hydrology Laboratory at the University of Florida ranks the 225 American cities with populations greater than 100,000 on fresh water availability and vulnerability. And while many of the most vulnerable cities are in the southwest, as one might expect with drought conditions sweeping California and Texas, there are some surprises.

The study rates ten cities as having a high level of vulnerability. San Antonio, with a metro area population of just under 2.3 million, comes in at 225. But it's followed by Miami, Florida, at 224 the second most vulnerable city. The largest metropolitan area threatened is Los Angeles, ranked 220 in terms of water security.

The other U.S. cities bringing up the rear are Lincoln, NE (223), San Jose, CA (222), San Diego, CA (221), Salt Lake City, UT (219), Riverside/San Bernadino, CA (218), Mission Viejo, CA (217) and El Paso, TX/NM (216). Other areas with a population of more than a million that face lesser but still high threats of water depletion are New York, Chicago, Cleveland, and Tampa/St. Petersburg.

"High-ranking cities tend to be adjacent to very large lakes, such as the Great Lakes, and large rivers, such as the Mississippi or Columbia," says the study.

"For example, the highest-availability city (Duluth, MN) is the only U.S. city on Lake Superior, the third-largest freshwater body in the world (by volume). The other Great Lakes have smaller volumes and are shared by more (and larger) cities. Low-ranking cities are often found in arid regions (for example Los Angeles and Las Vegas), have low storage per capita (for example Miami and Atlanta) or share sources with multiple other cities (for example Chicago and Tallahassee)."

Worldwide, Environmental Defense Fund Business reports that experts predict Sana'a, Yemen, with a population of nearly two million, could be the first capital city to run out of water in slightly more than a decade. Other large metro areas such as Istanbul (population more than 14 million) also face threats of running out of water in that time period, just as the populations of developing countries are increasingly urbanized.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

The Executive Order That Could Save U.S. Water Supplies

World’s Largest Coal Company Agrees to Stop Depleting Chinese Community’s Water Supply

Is California Headed For a Century-Long Drought?

A sea turtle rescued from Israel's devastating oil spill. MENAHEM KAHANA / AFP via Getty Images

Rescue workers in Israel are using a surprising cure to save the sea turtles harmed by a devastating oil spill: mayonnaise!

Read More Show Less

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

A "digital twin of Earth." European Space Agency

As the weather grows more severe, and its damages more expensive and fatal, current weather predictions fall short in providing reliable information on Earth's rapidly changing systems.

Read More Show Less

Trending

Melting ice in places such as Greenland could stop a critical ocean current. Paul Souders / Getty Images

The climate crisis could push an important ocean current past a critical tipping point sooner than expected, new research suggests.

Read More Show Less
California Gov. Gavin Newsom tours the Chevron oil field west of Bakersfield, where a spill of more than 900,000 gallons flowed into a dry creek bed, on July 24, 2019. Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

By Brett Wilkins

Accusing California regulators of "reckless disregard" for public "health and safety," the environmental advocacy group Center for Biological Diversity on Wednesday sued the administration of Gov. Gavin Newsom for approving thousands of oil and gas drilling and fracking projects without the required environmental review.

Read More Show Less
Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and Kenyan professor Wangari Maathai poses during the COP15 UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, Denmark on December 15, 2009. Olivier Morin / AFP / Getty Images

By Kate Whiting

From Greta Thunberg to Sir David Attenborough, the headline-grabbing climate change activists and environmentalists of today are predominantly white. But like many areas of society, those whose voices are heard most often are not necessarily representative of the whole.

Read More Show Less