All things freshwater: news, analysis, humor, reviews, and commentary from Michael E. 'Aquadoc' Campana, hydrogeologist, hydrophilanthropist, Professor of Hydrogeology and Water Resources Management in the Geography Program of the College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences (CEOAS) at Oregon State University, Emeritus Professor of Hydrogeology at the University of New Mexico, Past President of the American Water Resources Association and Past Chair of the Scientists & Engineers Division of the National Ground Water Association. He is founder and president of the nonprofit Ann Campana Judge Foundation, an organization involved with WaSH (Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene) in Central America. CYA statement: the opinions expressed herein are solely those of Michael E. Campana and not those of CEOAS, Oregon State University, ACJF, AWRA, NGWA, my spouse Mary Frances, or any other person or organization.
Texas Agriculture Law Blog Don't let the name fool you - there are lots of water issues in agriculture and Tiffany Dowell of Texas A&M University does a fabulous job with this important Internet resource. Give it a read - I do every day!
The Way of Water Oregon State University Geography PhD Student, Jennifer Veilleux, records her fieldwork, research, and thoughts about transboundary water resources development in the Nile River and Mekong River basins. Particular attention is given to Ethiopia's Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam and Laos' Xayaburi Dam projects.
Thirsty in Suburbia Gayle Leonard documents things from the world of water that make us smile: particularly funny, amusing and weird items on bottled water, water towers, water marketing, recycling, the art-water nexus and working.
This Day in Water History Michael J. 'Mike' McGuire, engineer extraordinaire, NAE member, and author of 'The Chlorine Revolution', blogs about historical happenings in the fields of drinking water and wastewater keyed to calendar dates.
WaSH Resources New publications, web sites and multi-media on water, sanitation and hygiene (WaSH).
Water 50/50 From Jay Famiglietti at UC-Irvine. Fifty lectures in fifty weeks: The 2012 Birdsall-Dreiss Distinguished Lectureship. A global lecture tour delivering the message about our changing water cycle, groundwater depletion, and the future of freshwater availability.
Water For The Ages Abby, another PNWer, writes about global water issues with passion and concern.
Watering the Desert Aptly-titled blog by CJ Brooks, a lawyer-hydrologist-geologist from Tucson, AZ.
Watershed Moments: Thoughts from the Hydrosphere From Sarah Boon - rediscovering her writing and editing roots after 13 years, primarily as an environmental scientist. Her writing centres around creative non-fiction, specifically memoir and nature writing. The landscapes of western Canada are her main inspiration.
WaterWired All things fresh water: news, comment, and analysis from hydrogeologist Michael E. Campana, Professor at Oregon State University.
Watery Foundation Tom Swihart, formerly of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, tells all about water management in the Sunshine State.
Western Water Blog The 'mystery blog' about Western USA water issues. What more can I say?
Wisdom in Water, Please... Kate Wilkins-Wells , who manages the Northwest Kansas Groundwater Management District No. 4, provides her wisdom on water issues.
xAnalytical Doug Walker's xAnalytical blog:Turning Data and Information into Knowledge
Q. In your opinion, what are the most important climate-related issues facing Salt Lake City?
The most important issue is water resources. By that I mean supply, quality, quantity, and demand. To give you some context, we — as most water utilities do — plan for our water resources needs for 30 to 50 years into the future. The last big planning that we did as a community was during the 1930s/1940s, when most of our big infrastructure projects were planned and being constructed. Then we did a water supply planning out to the year 2030 about 10 years ago. We’re constantly trying to align our projections of supply and demand.
The biggest role climate change plays for us is that it adds another significant component into the balance of supply and demand. Whether demand is what people put on their yards, or whether it’s manufacturing, or energy needs, or any of those types of water uses, we feel that climate change will affect demand patterns in particular because of the increased rate of evapotranspiration, for instance, in vegetation.
Q. The study you were involved with found that every degree Fahrenheit of warming in the Salt Lake City region could mean a 1.8 to 6.5 percent drop in the annual flow of streams that provide water to the city. What does that mean for Salt Lake City’s water utility?
For us it means a couple of things. First and foremost it means that our working assumption that increasing temperature will reduce the amount of available water supply in our free-flowing streams was validated, at least in the model we used for this study. It also gave us a scale to work with as a possible scale of severity. But we’re also using the results as a springboard for other types of studies or information that we need to refine our decision making. We don’t feel like this study answers all of our questions, but it gives us a really good place to start and say, “Okay, so in a warming climate we can expect the hydrology to change this way.”
This study really just tried to isolate this one variable—stream flows--but there are other important variables. We have variables such as changes in vegetation in our head waters and whether or not that makes us more vulnerable to catastrophic fire, which would affect water quality and water supply. We also have more questions on the demand side because much of water management is really matching the supply to meet the demand (or vice versa). What does an increase in temperature, or a change in weather patterns, or a deepening of drought, or other extreme weather events — especially with climate change — do to the patterns of water demand? And that, to us, is a really compelling question because it may change how we look at water conservation programs, for instance. We may want to adjust those programs to adapt to the changing climate around us.
Q. You said this report answered one specific question. It used NOAA stream flow forecasting models that provide information for Salt Lake City’s current water operations and management. What other climate tools or information do you think would be useful in Salt Lake City’s long-term planning process?
We are still continuing to do studies. We partner with Western Water Assessment frequently as well as different departments at the University of Utah — engineering, areas looking at green infrastructure, planning. We’ve also partnered with Brigham Young University and Utah State University to look at the different components of the watershed I was talking about earlier.
One tool we are excited about is a local dendrochronology (tree ring) study that gives us a sense of the longer-term history of wet and dry periods. Essentially, we’ve been making decisions based on the last 100 years of recorded climate data to plan our water supplies, and that is a great big assumption. If you look at tree-ring records, they tell a much broader story about more intense droughts and how long they lasted. That’s a huge tool for us. In the tree ring record for instance, there’s evidence of an 18-year drought, and we’ve never experienced that in our recorded history. So this is something that we could look into: the deeper historic records of the tree rings and apply them forward assuming that climate change patterns will impact us in that type of extreme event.
Other tools that we’re looking at have to do with models that relate the natural infrastructure to the built infrastructure. In much of our water resource management, we have a diverse set of water resources. The biggest component are these free-flowing streams that were part of the study in Earth Interactions, but we also have water storage [systems], and so each year we try to manage those systems to optimize not only for that year but also for future years.
Q. Does the city plan on making any near-term changes based on climate information or is it being compiled for future implementation?
We’ve already made near-term changes, but those changes are more operational. We haven’t produced a stand-alone climate-adaptation plan, but what we have done is taken the information that we develop with all of these partners — the modeling and the science — and institutionalized it into our current and ongoing operational planning processes.
For instance, we had an extreme rain event over Independence Day last summer and what we noticed during that event was, in our watersheds and our headwaters, the intensity of the rain event brought down an unprecedented amount of sediment from the road cuts that went through the watershed. Basically, we had to bypass that very turbid water from our treatment plants because our plants just can’t process it. Well, that’s getting us thinking about anticipating those events and changing our operations to better handle extreme events like that; or, doing things in the watershed itself to make the watershed and natural infrastructure more resilient to events like that.
Q. Do you have any climate-related advice to other public utilities managers in your region or in other big cities across the U.S.?
Yes, I do. What I’ve noticed — because we talk to a lot of utilities across the West — is that there are larger utilities and smaller utilities, and there’s a varying amount of resources available to them to address an issue as big and complex as climate change.
The first part of my advice is not to get overwhelmed by the complexity of everything that’s happening, and just start your process of understanding your vulnerabilities. Just a first step — start it simply and use your partners. Develop partnerships. I would say we’re a mid-sized utility with some available resources, and what we found is we could never do this on our own. It really took networking with the scientific and academic communities, communicating the practitioners’ needs and the water management needs to the scientists and academics involved, and developing those relationships. It really does take a network to identify where to start and where to keep going in your assessment.
The second piece of advice is you’re never done with this assessment. It just becomes part of your water resource planning process.
Executive Summary The Global Risks 2014 report highlights how global risks are not only interconnected but also have systemic impacts. To manage global risks effectively and build resilience to their impacts, better efforts are needed to understand, measure and foresee the evolution of interdependencies between risks, supplementing traditional risk-management tools with new concepts designed for uncertain environments. If global risks are not effectively addressed, their social, economic and political fallouts could be far-reaching, as exemplified by the continuing impacts of the financial crisis of 2007-2008.
The systemic nature of our most significant risks calls for procedures and institutions that are globally coordinated yet locally flexible. As international systems of finance, supply chains, health, energy, the Internet and the environment become more complex and interdependent, their level of resilience determines whether they become bulwarks of global stability or amplifiers of cascading shocks. Strengthening resilience requires overcoming collective action challenges through international cooperation among business, government and civil society.
Box 1: Objectives of the Global Risks 2014 Report The world faces risks that can be addressed only by long-term thinking and collaboration among business, governments and civil society. The Global Risks 2014 report aims to support this process by:
exploring the nature of systemic risks
mapping 31 global risks according to the level of concern they arouse, their likelihood and potential impact, as well as the strength of the interconnections between them
looking in-depth at the ways in which three constellations of global risk – centred on youth, cyberspace and geopolitics – could interplay and have systemic impact
Mapping Global Risks in 2014 Based on a survey of the World Economic Forum’s multistakeholder communities, the report maps 31 global risks according to level of concern, likelihood and impact and interconnections among them.
The risks of highest concern to respondents are fiscal crises in key economies, structurally high unemployment and underemployment, and water crises (Table 1).
The risks considered high impact and high likelihood are mostly environmental and economic in nature: greater incidence of extreme weather events, failure of climate change mitigation and adaptation, water crises, severe income disparity, structurally high unemployment and underemployment and fiscal crises in key economies. Female respondents perceived almost all global risks as both more likely and more impactful than did males, especially in the environmental category. Younger individuals gave higher scores for the impact of almost all of the risks, particularly environmental risks, such as water crises, greater incidence of natural catastrophes, the loss of biodiversity and greater incidence of extreme weather events.
The risks perceived to be most interconnected with other risks are macroeconomic – fiscal crises, and structural unemployment and underemployment – with strong links between this macroeconomic risk nexus and social issues, such as rising income inequality and political and social instability. The failure of global governance emerges as a central risk that is connected to many different issues. Mapping perceived interconnections between risks helps to understand the potential transmission channels between them.
The decline of trust in institutions, lack of leadership, persisting gender inequalities and data mismanagement were among trends to watch, according to survey respondents. Experts added further concerns including various forms of pollution, and accidents or abuse involving new technologies, such as synthetic biology, automated vehicles and 3-D printing.
Three Risks in Focus Of the many conceivable ways in which possible interconnections and interdependencies between global risks could play out systemically over the 10-year horizon considered by this report, three are explored in depth:
Instabilities in an increasingly multipolar world: Changing demographics, growing middle classes and fiscal constraints will place increasing domestic demands on governments, deepening requirements for internal reform and shaping international relations. Set against the rise of regional powers, an era of greater economic pragmatism and national self-protection might increase inter-state friction and aggravate a global governance vacuum. This may hinder progress on cross-cutting, long-term challenges, and lead to increased inefficiencies and friction costs in strategically important sectors, such as healthcare, financial services and energy. Managing this risk will require flexibility, fresh thinking and multistakeholder communication.
Generation lost? The generation coming of age in the 2010s faces high unemployment and precarious job situations, hampering their efforts to build a future and raising the risk of social unrest. In advanced economies, the large number of graduates from expensive and outmoded educational systems – graduating with high debts and mismatched skills – points to a need to adapt and integrate professional and academic education. In developing countries, an estimated two-thirds of the youth are not fulfilling their economic potential. The generation of digital natives is full of ambition to improve the world but feels disconnected from traditional politics; their ambition needs to be harnessed if systemic risks are to be addressed.
Digital disintegration: So far, cyberspace has proved resilient to attacks, but the underlying dynamic of the online world has always been that it is easier to attack than defend. The world may be only one disruptive technology away from attackers gaining a runaway advantage, meaning the Internet would cease to be a trusted medium for communication or commerce. Fresh thinking at all levels on how to preserve, protect and govern the common good of a trusted cyberspace must be developed.
Collaborative multistakeholder action is needed. Wide variance in how risks are identified and managed still exists. Businesses, governments and civil society alike can improve how they approach risk by taking steps such as opening lines of communication with each other to build trust, systematically learning from others’ experiences, and finding ways to incentivize long-term thinking. By offering a framework for decision-makers to look at risks in a holistic manner, the Global Risks 2014 report aims to provide a platform for dialogue and to stimulate action.
Table 1. Ten Global Risks of Highest Concern in 2014
Fiscal crises in key economies
Structurally high unemployment/underemployment
Severe income disparity
Failure of climate change mitigation and adaptation
Greater incidence of extreme weather events (e.g. floods, storms, fires)
Global governance failure
Failure of a major financial mechanism/institution
I will conclude with my usual quote - the report's conclusions:
Trust is necessary if stakeholders are to work together to tackle global risks, but trust is being undermined in some systemically important areas. For example, much of the younger generation lacks trust in traditional political institutions and leaders, while recent revelations about cyber espionage have undermined trust in the Internet in general and the governance of cyberspace in particular.
Long-term thinking is a prerequisite for any approach to global risks. This report has explored strategies through which corporations and governments can attempt to incentivize a shift from short-term to long-term time horizons.
Collaborative multistakeholder action is required as businesses, governments, or civil society alone do not have both the tools and the authority to tackle systemic risks. We hope that the mapping of global risks and their interconnections will provide a common base to better understand risks and their consequences, and for dialogue as a first step towards collective action.
Global governance is key to addressing global risks such as climate change or cybersecurity, but new models are urgently needed as the world’s increasing multipolarity renders its current global governance structures unwieldy and outdated.
Over past decades, terrestrial water fluxes have been affected by humans at an unprecedented scale and the fingerprints that humans have left on Earths water re- sources are turning up in a diverse range of records. In this thesis, a state-of-the-art global hydrological model (GHM) and global water demand model were developed and eventually coupled to quantify and distinguish human and climate impacts on surface freshwater and groundwater resources. The thesis is composed of three major parts: Part 1. Human and climate impacts on surface freshwater resources; Part 2. Global assessment of groundwater resources; Part 3. Integrated modeling and indicators of global water resources. The thesis first explores the human and climate impacts on seasonal surface freshwater resources by forcing the global hydrological model PCR- GLOBWB with daily meteorological fields and by calculating global monthly water demands with the effects of socio-economic and land use change. Increased water de- mand was found to be a decisive factor for heightened water stress in various regions, while climate variability is often a main determinant of extreme events. Over Eu- rope, North America and Asia, severe hydrological drought conditions are driven by increasing consumptive water use rather than to be merely induced by climate vari- ability; the magnitude of droughts intensified by 10-500%. Next, the thesis assesses global groundwater resources by estimating groundwater recharge and abstraction. Global groundwater depletion was found to triple in size over the last 50 years, and contributes ∼20% to irrigation water supply. Groundwater stress was then assessed using newly developed indicators considering groundwater contribution to environ- ment. The global groundwater footprint was found to be 3.5 times the actual area of aquifers driven by a few heavily overexploited aquifers.
The aquifer stress indicator revealed that ∼8% of transboundary aquifers are currently stressed due to human overexploitation. Importantly, groundwater depletion was found to be an important contributor to sea-level rise and is likely to dominate over those of other terrestrial water sources. The contribution of groundwater depletion to sea-level increased by more than ten-fold over 1900-2000, and is projected to increase further by 2050. In the final part of this thesis, an improved modeling framework that dynamically simulates daily water use per source per sector was developed. Human impacts on terrestrial water storage signals were evident in the validation with GRACE satellite observation, altering the seasonal and inter-annual variability over heavily regulated and intense irrigated basins. The newly developed model together with other six state-of-the-art GHMs was applied to simulate future irrigation water demand using the latest CMIP5 climate projections. The increase in irrigation demand varies substantially depend- ing on the degree of global warming and associated regional precipitation changes. GHM dominates the uncertainty throughout the century, but GCM uncertainty sub- stantially increases from the mid-century. To comprehensively assess global water resources, an improved approach was introduced. The Green Water Stress Index is capable of reproducing varying degrees of green water stress conditions, reflecting amulti-decadal climate variability. The Blue Water Sustainability Index revealed an increasing trend of water consumed from nonsustainable surface water and groundwater resources (∼30%) worldwide.
Keywords: Global hydrological modeling; Surface freshwater; Groundwater; Water use; Water stress; Human impacts; Irrigation; Climate effect; Sea-level rise; Integrated modeling framework
Over past decades, terrestrial water fluxes have been affected by humans at an unprecedented scale and the fingerprints that humans have left on Earth’s water resources are turning up in a diverse range of records. In his PhD thesis, Yoshihide Wada developed a state-of-the-art global hydrological model (GHM) and global water demand model. These were eventually coupled to quantify and distinguish human and climate impacts on surface freshwater and groundwater resources. Yoshihide Wada’s thesis is composed of three major parts: Part 1. Human and climate impacts on surface freshwater resources; Part 2. Global assessment of groundwater resources; Part 3. Integrated modeling and indicators of global water resources. Yoshihide Wada was promoted cum laude!
The thesis first explores the human and climate impacts on seasonal surface freshwater resources by forcing the global hydrological model PCR‐GLOBWB with daily meteorological fields and by calculating global monthly water demands with the effects of socio-economic and land use change. Increased water demand was found to be a decisive factor for heightened water stress in various regions, while climate variability is often a main determinant of extreme events. Over Europe, North America and Asia, severe hydrological drought conditions are driven by increasing consumptive water use rather than to be merely induced by climate variability; the magnitude of droughts intensified by 10–500%.
Next, the thesis assesses global groundwater resources by estimating groundwater recharge and abstraction. Global groundwater depletion was found to triple in size over the last 50 years, and contributes ~20% to irrigation water supply. Groundwater stress was then assessed using newly developed indicators considering groundwater contribution to environment. The global groundwater footprint was found to be 3.5 times the actual area of aquifers driven by a few heavily overexploited aquifers. The aquifer stress indicator revealed that ~8% of transboundary aquifers are currently stressed due to human overexploitation. Importantly, groundwater depletion was found to be an important contributor to sea-level rise and is likely to dominate over those of other terrestrial water sources. The contribution of groundwater depletion to sea-level increased by more than ten-fold over 1900–2000, and is projected to increase further by 2050.
In the final part of this thesis, an improved modeling framework that dynamically simulates daily water use per source per sector was developed. Human impacts on terrestrial water storage signals were evident in the validation with GRACE satellite observation, altering the seasonal and inter-annual variability over heavily regulated and intense irrigated basins. The newly developed model together with other six state-of-the-art GHMs was applied to simulate future irrigation water demand using the latest CMIP5 climate projections. The increase in irrigation demand varies substantially depending on the degree of global warming and associated regional precipitation changes. GHM dominates the uncertainty throughout the century, but GCM uncertainty substantially increases from the mid-century. To comprehensively assess global water resources, an improved approach was introduced. The Green Water Stress Index is capable of reproducing varying degrees of green water stress conditions, reflecting a multi-decadal climate variability. The Blue Water Sustainability Index revealed an increasing trend of water consumed from nonsustainable surface water and groundwater resources (~30%) worldwide.
Some light holiday reading!
"Failure seldom stops you. What stops you is the fear of failure." - Jack Lemmon
Reclamation study finds shortfall of 678,522 acre-feet of water per year will be needed in basin in 2060 due to increased demand and climate change
WASHINGTON - Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner Michael L. Connor released the Lower Rio Grande Basin Study that evaluated the impacts of climate change on water demand and supply imbalances along the Rio Grande along the United States/Mexico border from Fort Quitman, Tex., to the Gulf of Mexico.
"Basin studies are an important element of the Department of the Interior’s WaterSMART initiative and give us a clearer picture of the possible future gaps between water demand and our available supplies," Commissioner Connor said. "This study of the lower Rio Grandebasin will provide water managers with science-based tools to make important future decisions as they work to meet the region’s diverse water needs. In addition, the study will help inform water management discussions between the U.S. and Mexico through the International Boundary Water Commission."
Among the findings and conclusions of the Lower Rio Grande Basin Study:
Climate change is likely to result in increased temperatures, decreased precipitation and increased evapotranspiration in the study area. As a result of climate change, a projected 86,438 acre-feet of water per year will need to be added to the 592,084 acre-feet per year of supply shortfall predicted in the existing regional planning process in 2060, for a total shortfall of 678,522.
Water supply imbalances exacerbated by climate change will greatly reduce the reliability of deliveries to all users who are dependent on deliveries of Rio Grande water via irrigation deliveries.
The Study includes an acknowledgment that all water management strategies recommended through the recently adopted regional water plan are part of a needed portfolio of solutions for the Study Area.
Seawater desalination, brackish groundwater desalination, reuse and fresh groundwater development were examined as alternatives to meet future water demands. The study found that brackish groundwater development was most suitable. Further analysis was conducted; it was found that regional brackish groundwater systems would best meet the planning objective. An appraisal-level plan formulation and evaluation process was conducted to determine potential locations of each regional brackish groundwater desalination system.
The Lower Rio Grande Basin Study was developed by Reclamation and the Rio Grande Regional Water Authority and its 53 member entities. It was conducted in collaboration with the Texas Region M Planning Group, Texas Water Development Board, Texas Commission on Environmental Quality and International Boundary and Water Commission. It covered 122,400 square miles. The study cost $412,798 with the RGWRA paying for 52 percent of it.
The basin study was conducted as part of WaterSMART. WaterSMART is the U.S. Department of the Interior’s sustainable water initiative that uses the best available science to improve water conservation and help water resource managers identify strategies to narrow the gap between supply and demand. Basin studies are comprehensive water studies that define options for meeting future water demands in river basins in the western United States where imbalances in water supply and demand exist or are projected to exist. Since the program’s establishment, 19 basins have been selected to be evaluated. For more information click here.
I have to admit I am puzzled by the number of significant figures reported. So they will need 678,522 acre-feet in 2060? Really? Maybe just say 680,000 acre-feet. Perhaps the report explains this.
Anyway, enjoy! And don't worry about the numbers - take it from none other than Lord Kelvin:
“When you can measure what you are speaking about, and express it in numbers, you know something about it, when you cannot express it in numbers, your knowledge is of a meager and unsatisfactory kind; it may be the beginning of knowledge, but you have scarely, in your thoughts advanced to the stage of science.” - William Thomson (Lord Kelvin)
What GAO Found The Department of Defense's U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) and the Department of the Interior's Bureau of Reclamation (Reclamation) have assessed water resource and infrastructure vulnerabilities and taken steps to develop guidance and strategies to adapt to the effects of climate change. Specifically, since 2009, the Corps has completed a high-level assessment of the vulnerabilities to climate change of various agency missions. The assessment found, for example, that the effects of increasing air temperatures on glaciers could negatively impact mission areas including navigation and flood damage reduction. The Corps has also conducted pilot studies to help identify adaptation guidance and strategies; it has completed 5 of the 15 pilot studies initiated and plans to start another study in 2013. Similarly, Reclamation has completed baseline assessments of the potential impacts of climate change on future water supplies for the major river basins where it owns and operates water management infrastructure. Reclamation, in collaboration with nonfederal entities, is now conducting more focused assessments, known as Basin Studies, through which Reclamation seeks to identify water supply vulnerabilities and project future climate change impacts on the performance of water infrastructure. According to agency officials, these studies will also help Reclamation develop adaptation strategies to address these impacts, such as operational or physical changes to existing water infrastructure or development of new facilities. Three Basin Studies have been completed, an additional 14 are under way, and 2 more are planned. Reclamation next plans to initiate feasibility studies for adaptation strategies identified in completed Basin Studies. Both agencies are incorporating what they have learned from their efforts into agency policies, planning, and guidance, according to agency officials.
In 2009, the Corps, Reclamation, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), jointly published a study that identified several challenges that climate change poses for water resource managers, and the Corp and Reclamation are collaboratively addressing these challenges. Specifically, these agencies are
identifying the data and tools needed by water managers to address climate change, which will help guide federal research efforts;
obtaining needed climate data by collaborating with other agencies to help ensure that the data are collected, such as by sharing some costs associated with maintaining USGS's stream flow measurement activities, which are valuable to Corps water planning and management;
integrating climate science into water resource management decision making through activities such as developing and communicating science to inform climate adaptation strategies; and
collaborating in the development of a climate change science training program for federal and nonfederal water resources managers.
The Corps and Reclamation have collaborated together and with others in a manner that is generally consistent with practices that GAO has identified as important to enhancing and sustaining collaboration among agencies. The Corps and Reclamation have made collaboration a key element of their policy and plans for adapting to the effects of climate change and have reinforced accountability for collaboration through agency performance management systems.
Why GAO Did This Study The effects of climate change on water resources have already been observed and are expected to continue. The Corps and Reclamation own and operate key water resource management infrastructure, such as dams and reservoirs. Adaptation-- adjustments in natural or human systems to a new or changing environment that exploits beneficial opportunities or moderates negative effects--can be used to help manage the risks to vulnerable resources. In 2009, a law--commonly referred to as the SECURE Water Act--and a presidential executive order directed federal agencies to address the potential impacts of climate change.
GAO was asked to review agency actions to address climate change impacts on water infrastructure. This report examines (1) actions taken by the Corps and Reclamation since 2009 to assess and respond to the potential effects of climate change on water infrastructure and (2) challenges, if any, faced by the Corps and Reclamation in assessing and responding to the potential effects of climate change on water infrastructure, and the steps the agencies are taking to address them. GAO analyzed the agencies' climate change adaptation guidance and planning documents and interviewed agency officials and other key stakeholders, including water users, environmental groups, and researchers.
What GAO Recommends GAO is not making any recommendations.
Circle of Blue Circle of Blue uses journalism, scientific research, and conversations from around the world to bring the story of the global freshwater crisis to life. Here you’ll find new water reports, news headlines, and hear from leading scientists.
Drink Water For Life The idea is simple. Drink water or other cheap beverages instead of expensive lattes, sodas, and bottled water for a set period of time. A day, a week, a month, Lent, Ramadan, Passover, or some other holiday period.
eFlowNet Newsletter From the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) this newsletter has lots of information about environmental flows and related issues.
Sustainable Water Resources Roundtable Since 2002, the Sustainable Water Resources Roundtable (SWRR) has brought together federal, state, corporate, non-profit and academic sectors to advance our understanding of the nation’s water resources and to develop tools for their sustainable management.