Lawmaker sends letters requesting reports on fresh water supplies and technologies for addressing water scarcity
Washington, D.C. (August 13, 2012) – As America suffers through an historic drought, Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) today asked the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to assess America’s fresh water supplies and identify technologies that could reduce water consumption and help prepare the country for more frequent and severe droughts caused by climate change.
“This summer’s drought is a harbinger of what’s to come,” said Rep. Markey, the top Democrat on the House Natural Resources Committee. “The climate is warming, and we have to prepare ourselves for droughts ahead. We cannot afford to stick our heads in the sand about this critical issue, because if we do, sand will be all that’s left. The reports I am requesting will shed light on what needs to be done to ensure that America has the fresh water needed to survive and prosper.”
Rep. Markey’s letter asking for an assessment of U.S. fresh water supplies can be found HERE. A second letter requesting an assessment of technologies to reduce water scarcity can be found HERE.
Rep. Markey sent two letters today to GAO asking for two separate reports. One letter requests GAO to review what has happened with America’s fresh water supplies over the last ten years and to forecast water supplies over the next ten years. The second letter asks GAO’s new Center for Science, Technology, and Engineering to evaluate technologies that could reduce water consumption in thermoelectric power generation, oil and gas drilling and mining, drinking and waste water, and agriculture. The second letter also asks GAO to evaluate desalination technologies that could expand fresh water supplies, and to assess how adopting new technologies could benefit U.S. locations facing the most severe water scarcity problems.
In the letters, Rep. Markey expresses his concerns about the nexus between water and energy, which are two fundamental and inextricably linked building blocks of the U.S. economy. “Large amounts of water are consumed in generating thermoelectric power and in extracting oil, gas, uranium and coal,” writes Rep. Markey to U.S. Comptroller General Gene Dodaro. “At the same time, large amounts of energy are used in extracting, treating and distributing water. Thus, shortages in water could cause shortages in energy, and vice versa. As America’s population grows and the climate changes, we will have to make more efficient use of water and possibly develop new water supplies.”