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.


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


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