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Climate change will have a negative effect on water quality and availability. How far do you agree?

Water is important to both society and ecosystems we reliable source of clean drinking water to sustain our health. We also need water for agriculture, energy production, navigation, recreation, and manufacturing. In many areas climate change will create a higher than normal demand for water causing the quality and quantity of the water to decrease. In some areas water availability will not be an issue. The bigger problem in these places will be the treat of sea level rise and flooding, these things will cause a decrease in water quality. One example of a place that is beginning to suffer from water shortages due to climate change is the Midwest of the United States. Impacts of climate change on water cycle and on demand: Rising temperatures increase the rate of evaporation of water into the atmosphere. This causes atmosphere to contain more water than normal. The rapid evaporation will dry out of some areas and will create excess precipitation in other areas. Change in the amount of rain that falls during storms is clear evidence that the water cycle is changing. There has been a 20% increase in rainfall in the past 50 years during the most intense 1% of storms across the globe but water decrease in the USA itself. Winter temperature rises cause more precipitation to fall as rain rather than snow. This causes snow to melt earlier in the year altering stream flow, which have their sources up in the mountain. With rising temperatures animals and humans need more water to maintain health. Many activities such as farming, energy making, growing livestock etc, also require water. The amount of water will be reduced by climate change, which will increase demand and competition for water supplies. Impacts on water supply: The amount of water in the west of the US is already limited. Over the past 50 years the west of the USA has had less rainfall and an increase in the length of droughts. It is predicted that there will continue to be fewer rainfall, less snowpack on the mountains and earlier annual snowmelt

which will lead to a decrease in water quantity during the summer months when water is at highest demand. It will be especially challenging for water management programs to meet demand throughout the year. Impacts on water quality: Water quality could suffer in areas which are experiencing increased rainfall. In the Midwest and Northeast the increase causes problems due to the fact that sewage systems and water treatment plants are overwhelmed by the larger than usual amounts of water. Rain can cause rivers to be filled with trash, chemicals, sediments, animal wastes and other materials making the water unsuitable to use, unsafe or in need of treatment. Freshwater along the coast face threats from sea level rise, as saltwater moves into fresh water it is instantly contaminated. This forces water managers to look for other water supply areas or to send water through the costly process of desalination. As freshwater is removed from rivers for human use, the saltwater moves upstream, causing the death of animals not used to living in and off saltwater. The same with drought; this can cause costal water resources to become more saline and harm water quality in the area. In conclusion I think that it is evident that climate change does cause a significant change in the quality of water and the availability of the vital resource. I fully agree with the initial question and I feel that people should really take notice in order for us to have a more sustainable future and not suffer the consequences. Stephen Sheedy Sources: http://globalchange.gov/what-we-do/assessment/previous-assessments/global-climatechange-impacts-in-the-us-2009 http://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/ar4/wg2/en/ch3.html http://downloads.climatescience.gov/sap/sap4-4/sap4-4-final-report-all.pdf http://www.nap.edu/catalog.php?record_id=12491 http://www.epa.gov/climatechange/impacts-adaptation/water.html http://www.cotf.edu/ete/modules/waterq3/WQassess4h.html