National Action Plan: Priorities for Managing Freshwater Resources in a Changing Climate

Interagency Climate Adaptation Task Force
Created: 10/01/2011 -


Freshwater resources are critical to the health of people, the environment, and the economy. Recent studies and assessments of climate change impacts, including the 2009 Global Climate Change Impacts in the US prepared by the U.S. Global Change Research Program, identify several major impacts of a changing climate on the Nation’s freshwater resources. These impacts of a changing climate pose significant challenges for freshwater resource managers. Assuring adequate water supply will be more difficult. New problems arise for water managers working to protect human life, health, and property. Changing water resources conditions will also make protecting the quality of freshwater resources, habitats, and aquatic life more complex. In October of 2010, the Interagency Climate Change Adaptation Task Force published a Progress Report describing Federal agency actions needed to better prepare the Nation to respond to the impacts of a changing climate. The Task Force recommended in the Progress Report that the Water Resources and Climate Change Adaptation Workgroup supporting the Task Force develop a national action plan to identify steps that Federal agencies can take to improve management of freshwater resources in a changing climate.

This National Action Plan synthesizes the latest science on climate risks to freshwater resources and establishes the following national goal: Government agencies and citizens collaboratively manage freshwater resources in response to a changing climate in order to assure adequate water supplies, to protect human life, health and property, and to protect water quality and aquatic ecosystems.

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National / Federal
Sector Addressed
Conservation / Restoration
Water Resources
Type of Adaptation Action/Strategy
Natural Resource Management / Conservation
Capacity Building
Increase / Improve public awareness, education, and outreach efforts
Conduct / Gather additional research, data, and products
Conduct vulnerability assessments and studies
Governance and Policy
Target Climate Changes and Impacts
Air temperature
Public health risks
Public safety threats
Sea level rise
Storms or extreme weather events
Water temperature
United States