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