Less Available Water


We in the Rocky Mountain states get 70 to 90 percent of our water from snowmelt, so less snow threatens our water supplies. Earlier snowmelt means that peak streamflows will be earlier, weeks before the peak needs of farmers, ranchers, homeowners, rafters and others.

“Current water resource management along the eastern edge of the Rocky Mountains depends on the storage of winter precipitation as high elevation snowpack well into the growing season. . . . Under a climate shift to earlier snowmelt runoff, not only would there be a greater demand for water to irrigate during the extended growing season, but water would be released from its very efficient high-elevation natural seasonal reservoir well before the July and August interval of peak irrigation.”

U.S. Global Change Research Program, Central Great Plains Regional Climate-Change Assessment (2002).



“Semi-arid and arid areas are particularly exposed to the impacts of climate change on freshwaer (high confidence). Many of these areas (e.g., Mediterranean basin, western USA, southern Africa, and north-eastern Brazil) will suffer a decrease in water resources due to climate change (very high confidence)."

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Climate Change 2007: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability (2007)

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