Integrating Water-related Climate Change Adaptation into Local Comprehensive Plans
Climate Change is Water Change
Climate change is water change, and is multiplying existing threats to local water resources, water-related infrastructure, communities and natural resources. Climate change is already impacting surface waters and groundwater in Maryland, including our estuaries, rivers, streams and aquifers. Climate change is altering historic precipitation patterns, causing more frequent severe storm events and tidal events, accelerating sea level rise and associated salinity, and causing more frequent flooding. Climate change is expected to increase the risk of drought, which could affect water supply and baseflow in streams. Hotter weather caused by climate change will lead to increased evapotranspiration and water demand. Alterations to historic precipitation patterns and more frequent severe storm and tidal events are forecasted to lead to increased nutrient and sediment impacts to receiving waters, affect septic system function, and diminish the capacity of or overwhelm stormwater BMPs, dams and conveyance systems. Climate change impacts will make local government water resource planning and management more difficult.