Money Pit: The High Cost and High Risk of Water Supply Reservoirs in the Southeast

Ben Emanuel and Jenny Hoffner
Created: 12/18/2013 -


We all need clean water. Securing reliable supplies of clean water for today and the future is a critical concern for communities across the country, and particularly in the Southeast where communities are grappling with water scarcity issues more than ever before. In a regional landscape defined by recent extreme droughts and continued conflict over water supply—and in the context of public budgets stretched thin—many communities are challenged to find the best way forward.

In this report, we outline five financial and resource-related risks tied to the pursuit of water supply reservoirs, document the lessons learned in recent years from financially difficult projects, and offer five key recommendations for a more prudent path forward.

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American Rivers is the leading conservation organization standing up for healthy rivers so communities can thrive.  American Rivers protects and restores America's rivers for the benefit of people, wildlife, and nature.  Founded in 1973, American Rivers has more than 65,000 members and supporters, with offices in Washington, DC and nationwide. 


Sector Addressed
Water Resources
Type of Adaptation Action/Strategy
Infrastructure, Planning, and Development
Target Climate Changes and Impacts
Water supply
Southeast & Caribbean