Emerging Climate Change Impacts on Freshwater Resources A Perspective on Transformed Watersheds

Alan P. Covich
Created: 5/31/2009 -


This review focuses first on types of socioeconomic and biotic adaptations. Many individuals, public agencies, and nongovernmental organizations are discovering ways to protect biodiversity and sustain natural ecological processes. Five case studies are highlighted to illustrate some of these alternative adaptive responses to climatic changes at local and regional scales. These approaches could be modified for use in other locations. However, most studies have evaluated uncertainties in the quantities of water supplies over relatively short periods during or immediately after a specific drought event, with limited analyses of water quality. These studies have usually focused at the scale of a single watershed or at a hierarchy of locally nested watersheds. More long‐term, spatially integrated research at regional, trans‐regional, or continental scales is needed to address the impacts of extreme climate variability on ecosystems and water supplies.

Published On


Community / Local
Regional / Subnational
Sector Addressed
Land Use Planning
Transportation / Infrastructure
Water Resources
Type of Adaptation Action/Strategy
Natural Resource Management / Conservation
Capacity Building
Invest in / Enhance emergency services planning and training
Infrastructure, Planning, and Development
Infrastructure retrofitting and improvements
Transportation: retrofitting and improvements
Water supply: retrofitting and improvements
Make infrastructure resistant or resilient to climate change
Create or modify shoreline management measures
Governance and Policy
Target Climate Changes and Impacts
Culture / communities
Diseases or parasites
Fishery harvest
Flow patterns
Invasive / non-native species, pests
Public health risks
Salinization / Saltwater intrusion
Species of concern
Storms or extreme weather events
Water quality
Water supply
Water temperature
Sociopolitical Setting
United States