Climate change is threatening water resources, increasing challenges to food and fiber production, and compromising human health in the Southwest through drought, wildfire, intense precipitation, sea level rise, and marine heatwaves. These changes are affecting ecosystems, infrastructure, agriculture, fisheries, and other economic sectors. Effective adaptation will require flexible decision-making and the incorporation of technological innovation with Indigenous and local knowledges.

    Key Points:

  • Higher temperatures have intensified drought and will lead to a more arid future. As warming increases irrigation demand, increased pumping could endanger groundwater supplies. Without adaptation, these changes will exacerbate the growing imbalance between water supply and demand in the region.
  • The impacts of these climate-driven changes are experienced disproportionately by certain communities in the region, including Indigenous communities.
  • In response to these interrelated climate challenges, people across the Southwest have implemented adaptive water governance and management approaches.
  • Multiple efforts to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions are being implemented throughout the region.

View the Southwest chapter of the Fifth National Climate Assessment >>


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Banner Image Credit

Lake Mead, by Wayne Hsieh. Used via a Creative Commons license, (CC BY-NC 2.0).

Last modified
21 November 2023 - 10:22am