Study Shows Wyoming Faces Extreme Water Stress by 2040
Wyoming has suffered through a drought for as long as I can remember. The University of Wyoming Water Resource Data System indicates that the Cowboy State has been in a moderate to severe drought since 1999. Unfortunately, according to a new study conducted by Sanctuary Bathrooms, matters may only worsen in the next few decades.
What Exactly is Water Stress?
Water stress refers to the depletion or reduction of freshwater resources, be they streams, rivers, lakes, glaciers, or groundwater. In periods of extreme water stress, drought follows.
Water Stress Study Findings
The study indicates a dramatic shift in water stress severity in Wyoming. Today, much of Wyoming remains in a moderate drought. Data from Sanctuary Bathrooms puts Wyoming cities at the following metrics for drought in 2022:
- Jackson - Low - Medium (1-2)
- Cheyenne - Medium - High (2-3)
- Casper - Low - Medium (1-2)
- Sheridan - Medium - High (2-3)
However, the statistics from the study grow grimmer as the next two decades pass. By 2040, those same cities are looking at a dry, drought-ridden future.
Water Stress Levels of Wyoming in 2040
- Jackson - Extremely high (>80%)
- Cheyenne - Extremely high (>80%)
- Casper - Extremely high (>80%)
- Sheridan - Extremely high (>80%)
Overall, the study ranks Wyoming as one of the worst places to live in 2040 in terms of water stress.
What's Causing Wyoming (and Global) Water Stress?
The jury is out on a single cause for increased water stress; however, a multitude of factors likely play a role. Experts point to climate change, increasing global population, and the subsequent demands on agricultural systems, plumbing, and freshwater needs as reasons water stress continues to climb globally.
The Future of Freshwater in Wyoming
Director James Robert had this to say about reducing the likelihood of extreme water stress,
“These shocking findings remind us that the US could be facing a huge problem with water availability and risk of widespread drought, in the coming decades, and that our collective usage is going to have a direct impact on future generations to come."
Steps that you can take to reduce water usage include switching from baths to showers, turning off the sink when brushing your teeth, using the dishwasher instead of handwashing dishes, and even scheduling maintenance for your shower and sinks.
Find out more about the study by clicking here.
Sanctuary Bathroom Study Sources:
Sanctuary Bathrooms cited the following sources for their information regarding water stress:
- Source: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-58248634
- Methodology: USA water stress data was gathered from the "Aqueduct" water risk atlas scarcity platform. This was done for a total of 48 US states (excluding Hawaii and Montana due to insufficient data). For these states, the forecasted water stress was collected for the year 2040, assuming a "business as usual" forecast.