Water Availability

Our Nation contains regions where agricultural producers contend with an overabundance of water and regions frequently challenged by water scarcity and drought. The 100th meridian is often touted as the dividing line between the wet eastern United States and the dry, water-limited west. While this geographic division serves well as a rule of thumb, it ignores critical factors such as rainfall timing, intensity, frequency and magnitude and resulting systemic impacts.  How these events impact water supply in relation to water demand dictates impacts both now and in the future.

Hydrologists often conceptualize water from a budget perspective with inputs (precipitation) and outputs (runoff, infiltration, deep percolation) over a specified land area and time-period. Projected changes in annual precipitation show a latitudinal dipole with increases for much of the northern U.S. and decreases in the drier areas of the southern U.S. These changes could exacerbate the water-related challenges already faced in these areas. For example, an increase in spring precipitation may reduce the number of workable field days, reduce crop yields and disrupt planting operations in wetter regions.

Continue to the full text of Water Resources in a Changing Climate or browse related content:

The U.S. Forest Service and USDA Climate Hubs convened regional workshops in many of the nine Forest Service regions throughout 2017. The workshops helped develop a set of local strategies and tactics to reduce, mitigate, and, in some cases, recover from the effects of drought. ...

Dealing with Drought in Forests, Grasslands, and Rangelands

Cattle & Dairy Farming in the Tropics ADAPTA Climate Change Adaptation Project from the Caribbean Climate Hub Date: December 2015 | Runtime: 13:13 | Language: Spanish with English Subtitles The first video of the ADAPTA series presents Dr. Guillermo Ortiz of the...

ADAPTA | Climate Adaptation Project

A newly constructed stream simulation culvert on the George Washington National Forest.

Extreme Precipitation and Trends There is clear evidence that precipitation in the Northeast is more intense than it was in the past. The increase in the Northeast has been greater than any other region in the U.S. (Figure 1). Between 1901 and 2014, total annual precipitation...

Storms and Stream-Crossings

mdo-alert

Subscribe to the alert with your area of interest. The Southeast Regional Climate Hub (SERCH) monitors the monthly drought outlook dataset for changes at your area of interest. We send you a summary email notification of any changes.

SERCH LIGHTS Monthly Drought Outlook Email Alert

USDA Forest Service Climate Change Resource Center

The CCRC addresses the land manager's question "What can I do about climate change?" The CCRC provides information about climate change impacts on forests and other ecosystems, and approaches to adaptation and mitigation in forests and grasslands. The website...

USDA Forest Service Climate Change Resource Center

An Economic Case Study at Intervale Community Farm After severe drought in much of the Northeast last year, this summer reminds us that the trend in the Northeast is for more rainfall. However, this rain is more often occurring in heavy downpours between periods of hot and dry...

Irrigation Pays in Protecting Crop Revenues in the Northeast

In conversation with Nelson Cecarelli, Owner of Cecarelli Farms on June 5th, 2017 Well before the installation of a RainWise MKIII weather station at Cecarelli Farms this past January, Nelson Cecarelli was itching to harness the power of his own on-farm data. The year prior,...

Cecarelli Farms Talks Data Driven Decision-Making

The U.S. Geological Survey has developed a new well design that may be cost-effective and resistant to the effects of drought. Originally for areas where arsenic can be a problem in ground water, the new shallow design could be a boon for small-scale farming too. The design is...

New USGS Shallow Well Design Resists Drought

Map of Puerto Rico displaying forest types

Overview Issues of water quality and scarcity are of great concern across the U.S. Caribbean. In recent years Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands have experienced uncommonly dry weather that has caused moderate to severe droughts. In 2014-2015, severe drought in Puerto Rico...

Drought Effects on Forests and Rangelands in the US Caribbean

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