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  1. The long hot summer has led to a serious water shortage.
  2. The long hot summer has led to serious water shortages.

What is the difference between these two examples? When can we use "shortages" in contrast to "shortage" in sentences?

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    Both are right. The first means a general thing. The second suggests several occurences.
    – Lambie
    Commented Dec 20, 2022 at 20:02

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In this context, I'd expect to see "...has led to a serious water shortage" followed by "in the surrounding area/in this vicinity" or something similar - we are suggesting a particular shortage [occuring in an area]. I am not saying it's necessary but it's important to clear up your confusion here.

As for the "serious water shortages", it could mean "different types/varieties of water shortages."

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    If the water network is connected, then you have one shortage. If there are local shortages in different areas with no way of piping water between them, there are multiple shortages.
    – Stuart F
    Commented Apr 21, 2023 at 18:36
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    @StuartF Yes, also, a place can have more than one water shortage per some time period.
    – Lambie
    Commented Dec 17, 2023 at 19:23

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