Water wars have long simmered in the arid Western U.S., but now they’re bubbling up in Eastern states as well. Dry spells in 1999 and 2002 brought many of the East’s rivers to worrisome lows; increased water demand spurred by new development is only adding to the problem. A contentious quarrel between Maryland and Virginia over the Potomac River has worked its way up to the U.S. Supreme Court, while North Carolina, South Carolina, and other Southern states are fighting tooth and nail over rivers like the Pee Dee, Chattahoochee, and Savannah. “This past year, we came within feet of shutting down nuclear power plants because there wasn’t sufficient water to cool them,” said Freddy Vang, South Carolina’s deputy director of natural resources. “At the same time, we came within feet of shutting down major municipal water supplies because they couldn’t pump water anymore.”