Coping with the curse of freshwater variability

24 October 2014

Science 24 October 2014: vol. 346 no. 6208 pp. 429-430 DOI: 10.1126/science.1257890


Coping with variable and unpredictable freshwater resources represents a profound challenge to climate adaptation. Rainfall, snowmelt, soil moisture, and runoff can vary from zero to large quantities, over a range of time scales and in ways not well predicted by climate models. Extreme floods and droughts are the most obvious manifestations, but hydrologic variability can also have chronic impacts. Water security involves managing these risks so that they do not place an intolerable burden on society and the economy. This paper discusses interlinked roles of institutions, infrastructure, and information in managing those risks.