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FACTS ABOUT WATER – THE UNITED STATES
February 24, 2004

FACTS ABOUT WATER – THE UNITED STATES

• Annually, Americans consume more water per capita (1677 cubic meters), than any other country in the world, including India and China combined. – The Center for Economic and Social Rights, Right to Water Fact Sheet #1.

• Enough water evaporates from Lake Powell each year to supply Los Angeles with water for the same period of time.

• Wetlands are becoming wastelands due to dumping, upstream water draw-off, water diversion, and urban development.

• Each year, Louisiana loses 35 square miles of bayous to the Gulf of Mexico due to erosion, urban development, oil and gas drilling and silt diversion from levees and canals on the Mississippi River.

• Without a barrier of healthy wetlands, a category 5 hurricane could cause up to 100,000 deaths in New Orleans.

• Headwater advantage: upstream agriculture has siphoned off enough water so that 2 major rivers in the American West – the Colorado and the Rio Grande – no longer reach the sea.

• Up to 3.5 million Americans get sick from fetid water each year.

• In 20 years, Denver, Salt Lake City, Albuquerque, Las Vegas, Houston and other western cities will be in the grip of severe water shortages. – U.S. Dept. of Interior.

• California sea otters are dying from a protozoan believed to come from cat litter washed out to sea. – University of California

• The Ogallala Aquifer, which stretches from north Texas to South Dakota, is the largest aquifer in North America. – Texas Almanac, p. 67

• 96% of the water pumped from the Ogallala Aquifer is used for irrigation. – Texas Almanac, p. 67

• The Ogallala Aquifer waters one-fifth of the nation's irrigated land. – “High Noon at the Ogallala Aquifer,” 1 Feb 01, by Jacques Leslie, salon.com,

• Unlike rivers and spring-fed aquifers, water in the Ogallala Aquifer cannot be replenished. It holds "fossil water," sealed underground for hundreds of thousands of years. Once it's used, it's gone forever.

• The shortest river in the United States is Texas’ 2.5-mile, spring-fed Comal River.


WATER RESTORATION IN AMERICA

• U.S. and Canada have jointly cleaned up Lake Erie, which in 1970 was literally dying. Now, fish life is booming.

• More than 100 dams have been removed in the U.S., reviving rivers and aquatic habitat.

• Fishermen in California have led efforts to restore salmon habitat and better manage the squid fishery.

• The Port of Houston Authority is creating oyster reefs in Galveston Bay from channel dredge material.


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