Adaptation to climate change in water management

The past is no longer a reliable tool for predicting future precipitation patterns. Although droughts are nothing new, global warming is predicted to not only increase the frequency and intensity of droughts but also effectively create ongoing drought-like conditions in parts of the United States.

Some areas, particularly in the West and Southwest, are expected to get less precipitation. By elevating temperatures, increasing evaporation rates, and extending dry seasons, even existing rainfall patterns will yield less in terms of useable water supplies. Ironically, global warming is also predicted to increase the frequency and intensity of storm events, which will in some cases provide more overall rainfall. However, intense rain events often deliver too much water at once, causing water to runoff instead of soaking into the ground, thereby making it harder to manage for water supply. These combined climate change related effects will decrease water supplies in regions across the country.