Heading the list on renewable but limited sustainable resources is water. This resource also provides the most immediate and effective feedback to the question "How are we doing?" Water is also admirably deaf to political boundaries, a characteristic that renders it a highly effective common denominator. Water managers, planners, and elected officials typically get into trouble when water-supply and water-budget lines do not reflect the geographic boundaries of the users—one system, then, has to steal from the other.
Virtually all municipalities get their potable water from a watershed and ground-water storage outside their own development boundaries. The reason for the loss of supply and recharge within their own boundaries is twofold. First, demand has increased exponentially. Second, land use within the watershed has significantly increased impervious surfaces, affecting the total runoff (loss) and reducing the recharge amount, rendering the water crop polluted and insufficient. With all of the water "managed" out of the system, water-resource agencies are wondering how to provide water for communities that now exist and what to do now that this lost water is essential for additional development.
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