climate-change-pnw-water

Many regions of the Pacific Northwest  has abundant water resources yet climate change is already impacting water resources. 
The mountain snow pack has been acting as a natural reservoir and the streams and rivers the delivery system.  In the warming climate less precipitation is falling as snow and the snow pack is melting earlier in response to an earlier spring.  Water conservation strategies can be used to  be more efficient in water use and Low Impact Development techniques can be used to prevent contamination of streams and rivers and percolate the water back down to to recharge the aquifer. There is an irrigation website by the Pacific Northwest Water Program that can help farmers use water more efficiently.

Each ecoregion will be impacted by climate change. 
  •  Ecoregion I has more plentiful rainfall yet will still face water constraints on its growing population.
  • Ecoregion II is drier, more reliant on aquifers for irrigation of its large agricultural region.  There is a need for more regulation surrounding the groundwater withdrawals and monitoring of this resource.  
  • Ecoregion III has abundant freshwater resources but much of the region lies in the Arctic which is facing a great rate of warming and ecosystem change.
All of the ecoregions have already experienced a greater rate of fire to forest and tundra ecosystems.

The Pacific Northwest program works to improve water quality management through educational knowledge and extension programming that emerges from a research base. The Land Grant Universities throughout the Pacific Northwest, Water Research Institutes, and EPA Region 10 have formed a partnership to provide research and education to northwest communities about protecting or restoring the quality of water resources. This partnership is being supported in part by the USDA's National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA).