Tuesday, June 30, 2009

2008 urban water supply rankings

SustainLane | How We Rated Cities

For 2008 we newly measured each city's water supply, in addition to tap water quality and other data. Desert cities and cities hundreds of miles away from their fresh water sources fell in this year's rankings largely because of our new water supply rankings. Data analyzed included distance in miles from primary source of untreated drinking water, dependence of water on snowpack, level of drought or other conflict, population growth rate and gallons of water consumed per person per day.

Tied for first place are Great Lakes cities of Chicago, Cleveland and Milwaukee. Following in rank for solid water supply longevity are Detroit at number four and New Orleans at number five.

Without steady supplies of fresh, drinkable water, our modern cities would quickly devolve into their previous selves: unsanitary, cholera-stricken, less populated. In a word, Medieval. Gigantic concrete and steel water delivery systems across deserts, state lines and over foothills ensure instant supplies of fresh water to each and every faucet and showerhead in cities without ample nearby supplies. Cities including Portland, Seattle and San Francisco depend on a stable water supply for their electricity as well.