“One of climate change’s biggest impacts is on water systems. Unreliable water can impact both corporate bottom lines and jeopardize natural security, as two recent reports point out.
“Climate change is changing precipitation patterns and intensity, increasing the incidence of droughts, floods, and erosion. These changes are making water supply and quality more difficult to obtain, affecting runoff and soil moisture, increasing water temperatures, decreasing snowpack and lake and river ice, threatening fish and aquatic species, and allowing saltwater intrusion and sea level rise. These changes are difficult to plan for, as past water patterns can no longer be used to predict the future. That uncertainty is problematic for businesses and can cause political strife, but some states and regions are taking proactive steps to avoid water trouble and will therefore be more reliable places to do business.
“A recent report from the Natural Resources Defense Council ranked U.S. states based on how their governments are planning and preparing for the water–related impacts of a changing climate, including whether they have strategies to reduce the greenhouse gas pollution that contributes to climate change and whether they have adaptation plans for projected climate-related impacts. The report includes an interactive online map highlighting the unique water vulnerabilities each state faces and what each is doing — or not doing — to prepare. Climate modeling was drawn in part from a 2009 report (PDF) from the U.S. Global Change Research Program, but the NRDC report also considered state’s policies. It said:
“Some states are leading the way in preparing for water-related impacts with integrated and comprehensive preparedness plans that address all relevant water sectors and state agencies. Unfortunately, other states are lagging when it comes to consideration of potential climate change impacts — or have yet to formally address climate change preparedness at all.”
Read more: Forbes