Nov. 18th USGCRP Seminar on Sustainable Water Resources and Global Climate Change: With Emphasis on the Western U.S.
tsocci at usgcrp.gov
Thu Nov 14 11:49:52 EST 1996
U.S. Global Change Research Program Second Monday Seminar Series
Sustainable Water Resources in the Next Century, With Special
Reference to Global Climate Change and the Western U.S.
What critical water issues face us as the 21st century approaches? How is
the western U.S. particularly affected by projected trends in water
availability, water use, and water partitioning? How might projected
climate changes affect these trends and the economy in the western U.S.?
Are there signs that climate change has already begun to alter water
supplies in the West? What can we do to better prepare for the regional
impacts of climate change on water resources?
Monday, November 18, 1996, 3:15-4:45 PM
Rayburn House Office Bldg., Room B369, Washington, DC
Dr. Robert Hirsch, Chief Hydrologist, U.S. Geological Survey, Department of the
Interior, Reston, VA.
Dr. Peter H. Gleick, Co-Founder and President, Pacific Institute for
Studies in Development, Environment, and Security, Oakland, CA.
Dr. W. James Shuttleworth, Department of Hydrology and Water Resources,
University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ.
State of the World's Water and the Implications for the Western U.S.
As of 1990 nearly 2 billion people worldwide lacked access to what the UN
defines as clean drinking water and adequate sanitation services. The lack
of these basic services led to an estimated 250 million cases of
water-related disease annually, and between 5 and 10 million deaths, mostly
of infants and small children. Yet we are falling behind in our race to
provide these services and between 1990 and 2000 an estimated 900 million
more people will be born in regions without access to adequate clean water.
In addition, agricultural production is constrained by a lack of
irrigation water or systems. Unless these problems are addressed, human
suffering in the future will worsen.
At the same time, nearly half of the world's land area is in an
international river basin and most of these basins lack even the most
fundamental agreements on equitable water sharing. This greatly increases
the risks of conflicts over scarce water. There are also signs that we are
falling behind in the race to provide adequate food for the world's growing
population. The amount of land per capita that is under irrigation is
falling for the first time in this century; this raises serious questions
about our ability to provide food for a world of eight or nine or ten
billion people, when we cannot reliably do so for a world of about six
While the United States is relatively water-rich, the western U.S. is a
water-scarce region that is experiencing increasing competition for limited
water supplies. Over the next several years, difficult decisions will have
to be made about water allocations for agricultural production, urban
development, and environmental protection. At the same time, new concerns
about global climatic change and the possible consequences for regional
water supplies and quality are complicating the challenge of planning and
management. While the debate about global climate changes continues, there
is a growing consensus that among the most significant impacts will be
effects on water resources and water management. To date, however, there
has been relatively little recognition of the potential for changes among
water agencies and planners.
Dr. Peter Gleick will offer an overview of critical global and regional
water issues and place them in the context of achieving sustainable water
management in the western United States in the next century.
Managing a Changing World: A Personal Perspective
As a follow-on perspective, Dr. James Shuttleworth will make the case that
progress in global change research over the last decade has brought about
the realization that at least some aspects of global climate change are
likely to be manageable. This suggests that it would be productive and
timely to refocus research within the US Global Change Research Program
(USGCRP) so as to provide an understanding of how to manage sustained
development more effectively, recognizing that the world's climate will
change. He will argue that the USGCRP is overly focused on predicting long
term change in the globally-averaged surface temperature and that this is
beyond the time horizon of those managing sustained development for the
future. Dr. Shuttleworth will argue, therefore, that greater emphasis
should be given to understanding and predicting phenomena such as regional
precipitation patterns and characteristics. He will suggest that focusing
research on predicting likely changes in precipitation statistics over the
next 30 years and on predicting precipitation for the next 18 months would
directly align the USGCRP with sustainable development needs.
On the basis of these arguments, Dr. Shuttleworth will propose that the
USGCRP take the following actions: First, develop predictions of the rate
of changes in water resources for the US and the rest of the world.
Second, encourage use of a planning period for all US water development
projects that recognizes the relative magnitudes of the predicted gradual
change in regional precipitation and the predicted short term variability
in precipitation. Third, define as a policy goal maintaining the rate of
global change such that the human-induced change in precipitation remains
small compared to natural variability. Finally, refocus global change
research on predicting the variability and change in regional precipitation
over the next 30 years.
Dr. Peter H. Gleick is Co-Founder and President of the Pacific Institute
for Studies in Development, Environment, and Security in Oakland,
California. Dr. Gleick was educated at Yale University and the Energy and
Resources Group of the University of California, Berkeley. He is a leading
expert on global freshwater issues, environmental security problems, and
the impacts of climatic change on fresh water resources. His research
includes work on the sustainable use of water, water conflicts in the
Middle East, water planning in California, the western US, and
internationally, and the connections between water, population, and
development. He serves on a variety of national and international
environmental panels, including the Scientific Advisory Group of the
President's Council on Sustainable Development, the Global Environmental
Change Committee of the American Geophysical Union, and the Comprehensive
Freshwater Assessment of the United Nations.
Dr. Gleick received a MacArthur Foundation post-doctoral fellowship in 1986
to study the impacts of the greenhouse effect on water resources, and a
MacArthur Foundation Research and Writing Fellowship in 1988 to explore the
implications of global environmental changes with respect to water and
international security. He currently directs programs at the Pacific
Institute looking at the links between global environmental issues and
international security and at a wide range of water-resources problems,
including the sustainable use of water, basic water requirements for human
and environmental use, water quality, and the history and nature of
disputes over water in the Middle East and the western U.S. His book,
Water in Crisis: A Guide to the World's Fresh Water Resources, was
published by Oxford University Press in late 1993.
Dr. W. James Shuttleworth is an internationally recognized expert in the
theory and modeling of land surface-atmosphere interactions. Over the last
decade he has led two major Anglo-Brazilian field experiments in the Amazon
basin. As member and then Chair of the IGBP/WCRP Joint Working Group on
Land Surface Experiments, he coordinated large-scale, multinational field
experiments in France, Spain and the Sahel. His current interests include
research into the improved representation of land surface interactions in
General Circulation Models and, in particular, on developing methods to
assimilate remotely sensed soil moisture into hydrological models and on
using remotely sensed data to improve the description of mixed vegetation.
He is presently engaged in collaborative research projects with both the
National Center for Environmental Prediction and the European Center for
Medium-range Weather Forecasting to improve weather and climate prediction
and to facilitate the interpretation of predictions in water resource
Dr. Shuttleworth obtained his B.S. and Ph.D. degrees in physics from the
University of Manchester (UK) where, in 1993, he was awarded an honorary
doctorate degree in science. He later served as Head of the Hydrological
Processes Division at the UK Institute of Hydrology. Since 1993, he has
served as Professor of Hydrometeorology at the University of Arizona. He is
a Fellow of the American Meteorological Society, the Royal Meteorological
Society and the European Geophysical Society. Professor Shuttleworth
serves on the National Research Council's (NRC) Committee on Global Change
Research and on the NRC's Global Ocean-Atmosphere-Land System Panel. He is
active in the International Geosphere Biosphere Program (IGBP) as Focus
Chair in their core project 'Biospheric Aspects of the Hydrological Cycle',
and in the World Climate Research Program (WCRP) as leader of the research
initiative on Coupled Hydrologic-Atmospheric Models within the Global
Energy and Water-Cycle Experiment Continental-Scale International Project.
The Next Seminar is scheduled for Monday, December 9, 1996
Planned Topic - The Economics of Climate Change Impacts and
Mitigation: The Importance of Values and Assumptions
For more information please contact:
Anthony D. Socci, Ph.D., U.S. Global Change Research Program Office
Code YS-1, 300 E St., SW, Washington, DC 20546
Telephone: (202) 358-1532; Fax: (202) 358-4103
E-Mail: TSOCCI at USGCRP.GOV.
Additional information on the U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP)
and this Seminar Series is available on the USGCRP Home Page at:
http://www.usgcrp.gov. Normally these seminars are held on the second
Monday of each month.
More information about the Coral-list-old