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Updated 12 October, 2003

US National Assessment of
the Potential Consequences
of Climate Variability and Change
Sector: Water Resources


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The National Assessment Overview and Foundation Reports were produced  by the National Assessment Synthesis Team, an advisory committee chartered under the Federal Advisory Committee Act, and were not subjected to OSTP's Information Quality Act Guidelines. The National Assessment was forwarded to the President and Congress in November 2000 for their consideration.

Water falling over rocksPublications by the National Assessment Synthesis Team

Links to Material from the Water Assessment Group

Related Articles from the National Assessment's Newsletter, Acclimations.

Other Related Links

Issues Covered

The Water Resources Sector focused on water quality and human health; extreme events such as flooding and drought; ecosystem function and health; water management and socio-economic impacts; and water use, availability, and resources. All of these issues were analyzed in the context of how potential climate change impacts could be related to other stresses that already exist.

Assessment Approach

The assessment team presented a general summary of major issues of concern and then focused specifically on a few of them. The issues covered in detail are listed above. To assess the impacts of climatic variability and change on the water resources of the U.S., the analysis examined current and anticipated trends in water demand. Quantitative evaluations of potential climate change impacts were based on modeling efforts when available. The assessment process was incorporated with professional review through a special symposium and journal issue of the American Water Resources Association. Cross-cutting issues between sectors were developed at the Water Resources Workshop along with assessment priorities, responsibilities, and a schedule of activities.

D. Briane Adams, U.S. Geological Survey
Peter Gleick, Pacific Institute for Studies in Development
Coordinating Federal Agency Department of the Interior
Agency Representative David Kirtland, U.S. Geological Survey
  • Water quality and human health
  • Extreme events (flooding, droughts, etc.)
  • Ecosystem function and health
  • Water management and socio-economic impacts
  • Water use, availability, and resources
July 2, 1998 First assessment team meeting and assignments.
Sept. 14-16, 1998 Sector Workshop.
Oct. 1998 Additional work commissioned to complete the assessment activities.
Dec. 15, 1998 Requested summaries from all regional co-chairs.
Feb. 15, 1999 Contributing papers in peer review.
First draft of papers for symposium.
Apr or May, 1999 American Water Resources Association Symposium used as a review for papers and public interaction
May 1999 Final draft of papers for symposium.
May 1999 Final draft of papers for symposium
December 1999 Publication of first set of peer-reviewed papers in the Journal of the American Water Resources Association
April 2000 Publication of second set of peer-reviewed papers in the Journal of the American Water Resources Association
May 2000 First public draft of water report available for comment on National Assessment Web site
Summer 2000 Final assessment report completed and published

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