Impacts of Climate Change on Water Resources

  • Increases in water pollution problems due to warmer air and water temperatures and changes in precipitation patterns, causing an increase in the number of waters catego­rized as “impaired,” with associated impacts on human health and aquatic ecosystems.
  • Impacts on water infrastructure and aquatic systems due to more extreme weather events, including heavier precipitation and tropical and inland storms.
  • Changes in the availability of drinking water supplies due to increased frequency, severity and duration of drought, chang­ing patterns of precipitation and snowmelt, increased evaporation, and aquifer saltwa­ter intrusion, affecting public water supply, agriculture, industry, and energy production uses.
  • Water body boundary movement and dis­placements as rising sea levels alter ocean and estuarine shorelines and as changes in water flow, precipitation, and evaporation affect the size of wetlands and lakes.
  • Changing aquatic biology due to warmer water and changing flows, resulting in deterioration of aquatic ecosystem health in some areas.
  • Collective impacts on coastal areas result­ing from a combination of sea level rise, increased damage from floods and storms, coastal erosion, saltwater intrusion to drink­ing water supplies, and increasing tempera­ture and acidification of the oceans.
  • Indirect impacts due to unintended con­sequences of human response to climate change, such as those resulting from, for example, armoring shorelines or carbon sequestration and other greenhouse gas reduction strategies.

Reference

National Water Program 2012 Strategy : Response to Climate Change. US EPA. December 2012.

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