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Highlights

The widespread drought conditions of 2002 focused attention on a critical national challenge: ensuring a sufficient freshwater supply to sustain quality of life and economic growth. States have primary responsibility for managing the allocation and use of water resources, but multiple federal agencies also play a role. For example, Interior's Bureau of Reclamation operates numerous water storage facilities, and the U.S. Geological Survey collects important surface and ground-water information. GAO was asked to determine the current conditions and future trends for U.S. water availability and use, the likelihood of shortages and their potential consequences, and states' views on how federal activities could better support state water management efforts to meet future demands. For this review, GAO conducted a web-based survey of water managers in the 50 states and received responses from 47 states; California, Michigan, and New Mexico did not participate.

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