Water

If the continental United States represented the entire surface of the earth, water would cover as much as every state west of the Mississippi River, with enough left over to cover the state of New York. Of the total volume of water on earth, about 97% is saltwater, and only about 3% is fresh. 98% of the freshwater is locked away in groundwater, ice caps, and glaciers, meaning only 2% of the world’s freshwater is available for human use. That’s about 148 gallons per person on Earth. In comparison, a 10-minute shower can take between 20 and 50 gallons of water.

The Earth typically does not gain or lose water in substantial amounts, so the water you use likely existed, in some form, before the first living creature evolved. While the amount of water on the planet does not change significantly, the amount of water in parts of Earth’s system can fluctuate wildly. In addition, water is not distributed evenly across the land surface. The result is that some areas are climatically wetter or drier than others, which shapes local agriculture and restricts which crops and livestock can prosper in a given region.

In the United States, some areas are expected to become drier as the climate, including average temperature and average precipitation, changes. Conversely, other areas are predicted to become wetter. The frequency of extreme weather events--severe floods, persistent drought, and severe storms--is also expected to change in some regions. The effect of climate change on water availability and wet and dry seasons has numerous potential implications for agriculture, especially in areas where the climate is expected to become less suitable to sustained agricultural production.

Nurseries and greenhouses are intensive production spaces where careful water management is critical to business. As the climate changes, there will be more periods of hot and dry weather in the region. Efficiently managing water resources will be essential to maintaining…

The USDA Northern Forests Climate Hub and the Northern Institute of Applied Climate Science (NIACS) have partnered with the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) to develop a series of brochures that describe options landowners and land managers have to adapt to climate…

As sea levels rise along the coasts, saltwater can move onto the land. Known as saltwater intrusion, this occurs when storm surges or high tides overtop areas low in elevation. It also occurs when saltwater infiltrates freshwater aquifers and raises the groundwater table below…

By Leiloni Begaye  Yá’át’ééh / Greetings, my relatives near and far, my name is Leiloni Begaye. I am from the Coyote Pass Jemez clan. I am born for the Water Flow Together clan. My maternal grandfather is from the Red Running into the Water clan. My paternal grandfather is from…

Southeast Alaska has been experiencing abnormally dry conditions since late January 2018 according to the U.S. Drought Monitor. Drought conditions have affected important ecosystem services such as hydroelectric power generation, drinking water availability, stream and…

Please join us for a two-day event geared towards all things agriculture and water-use efficiency. We will share understanding about how climate change will affect irrigated/rain fed specialty crops in the Northeast and how water-use efficiency practices can be improved. Co-…

The USDA Midwest Climate Hub and the Indiana State Climate Office at Purdue University will provide a 1.5 day workshop on regional research, management and monitoring needs with an emphasis on herbicide/pesticide drift issues. The ADIM workshop will take place from TBD at the…

Increasing humidity and precipitation and rising extreme temperatures are having negative impacts across the Midwest. Integrating climate adaptation into planning processes can help build adaptive capacity to increase climate resilience. The U.S. Climate Resiliency Toolkit for…

Livestock grazing plays an important role in the tribal economies within the Great Basin states, but as the climate continues to warm and water resources decrease, innovative grazing strategies will become critical to sustain healthy rangelands and the complex social and…