Document Type


Publication Date

Winter 2008


Earth's climate is warming. This is the unequivocal conclusion of climate scientists. Despite the complexities of climatology, certain consistent trends emerge with implications for water availability: as the world gets warmer, it will experience increased regional variability in precipitation, with more frequent heavy precipitation events and more susceptibility to drought. These simple facts will have a profound impact on freshwater resources throughout the United States, as the warmer climate will reduce available water supplies and increase water demand. Unfortunately, current water law and policy are not up to the new challenges of climate change and resulting pressures on freshwater resources. To adapt to climate change, water law and policy will need to embrace fundamental reforms that emphasize water conservation and more efficient and environmentally sound allocation at the local, regional, and national scales.