Research Needs for Advancing Science on Freshwater Resources in the Context of Climate Change

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Changes in freshwater systems are expected to create significant challenges for flood management, drought preparedness, water supplies, and many other water resource issues. Responding to these challenges will require better data and improved model projections as well as a better understanding of both the impacts of climate change and the role of water governance on future water resources. Significant gaps remain in the knowledge base that informs both projections of climate impacts on water resources and governance strategies that can build adaptive capacity of water systems to climate effects. Key research needs, which are explored in more detail in Chapter 8, include the following:

• Improve projections of changes in precipitation and other water resources at regional and seasonal time scales.

• Develop long-term observational systems for measuring and predicting hy-drologic changes and planning management responses.

• Improve tools and approaches for decision making under uncertainty and complexity.

• Develop vulnerability assessments of the diverse range of water users and integrative management approaches to respond effectively to changes in water resources.

• Increase understanding of water institutions and governance, and design effective systems for the future.

• Improve water engineering and technologies.

• Evaluate effects, feedbacks, and mitigation options of water resource use on climate.

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