Climate Change Is About Water, Too

Yesterday morning, as Senators Boxer and Kerry unveiled the Senate's new climate bill, they emphasized that the threat of climate change is about more than just hotter weather. It's about the economy and national security, two issues that are getting a lot of attention right now - but climate change is also about another incredibly important problem: water.

The water we all use to drink, swim, wash and bathe is seriously threatened by climate change, as altered weather patterns and water cycles could cause communities all over the country to face longer droughts, more frequent floods and storms, and increased water pollution. Obtaining, transporting, and treating water also uses lots of energy, creating the same global warming pollution that threatens our water in the first place.

It's very encouraging that the new climate bill recognizes these challenges and includes provisions designed to help America's water resources adapt to the impacts of global warming. As we hoped, the bill includes funding for states and federal agencies to develop and implement natural resources adaptation plans. It also promotes water efficiency by supporting the EPA's WaterSense certification and labeling program (an efficiency rating system, similar to Energy Star), requiring federal agencies to be leaders by using water-conserving items, and providing grants to states and other entities who offer consumers financial incentives to buy water-efficient products and services. It even establishes a research program to study impacts to our drinking water and develop strategies to make our water resources more resilient.

As the bill we saw drop in the Senate yesterday reveals, our lawmakers know that the climate problem is also a water problem. With this legislation, they're taking a positive step on the path to ensuring strong and healthy water resources for all Americans long into the future.