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 effects of climate change on crop production will vary by region, and will largely be a factor of impacts on resources important to agricultural production, such as soil and water. Soils provide a wide variety of ecosystem services, including regulating carbon through...

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Irrigation lines at Intervale Community Farm

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3 cows on dry, brown range

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View of the March 2018 Quarterly Harvest

Working as a collaboration to promote climate informed decisions on farms and forests. In December 2017, the USDA Northeast Climate Hub relaunched it's e-newsletter to bring readers a more visually appealing and engaging periodical. The aptly named, Quarterly Harvest, seeks to...

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Frozen peach blossom

How are climate change and weather variability affecting Northeastern producers? Farmers, foresters, and other land owners in the Northeast are already feeling the pressures of a changing climate and increasing weather variability. In recent years the Northeast has experienced...

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Tree mortality across the Musick Creek and Bald Mountain landscapes on the Sierra National Forest, High Sierra Ranger District

Webinar Summary In April 2017, the U.S. Forest Service Office of Sustainability and Climate hosted a webinar focused on drought and forest ecosystems. Scientists discussed how the ecological effects of drought and a changing climate interact with those of wildfire, insects,...

Drought and Forest Ecosystems

Oyster Castles scene from Living Shorelines virtual tour

Smart Phone or Tablet? We suggest jumping over here for an improved virtual experience!   Sea levels are rising, and storm intensity and rainfall are projected to increase as the climate continues to warm. In 2012, Hurricane Sandy showed the state of New Jersey the power of...

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To convey information contained in the Forest Ecosystem Vulnerability Assessment and Synthesis for New England and Northern New York forests.

Storymap of Climate Change and Adaptation: New England

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