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Published July 21, 2010, 08:58 AM

Report says warmer climate could parch Montana counties

BILLINGS, Mont.— A new report says more than 1,000 counties across the United States could face potential water shortages by mid-century as warmer temperatures deplete supplies and agricultural and consumer demand for water rises.

BILLINGS, Mont.— A new report says more than 1,000 counties across the United States could face potential water shortages by mid-century as warmer temperatures deplete supplies and agricultural and consumer demand for water rises.

The report, released Tuesday by the Natural Resources Defense Council, says some regions including the Northeast could see a boost to water supplies as climate change shifts weather patterns.

But for much of the rest of the country, the group paints a sobering picture of warm temperatures further taxing aquifers already stressed by heavy use.

The report did not factor in future improvements to water supply systems.

Fourteen states were highlighted as being most at risk — Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Kansas, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas.

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