Our warming climate has affected water on earth in profoundly interconnected ways — as the oceans heat and the glaciers and ice shelves melt, they all contribute to sea level rise. Global warming also increases water vapor in the atmosphere, which leads to more frequent heavy rain and snowstorms — all of which leads to heavier flooding. Additionally, a warmer and more moist atmosphere over the oceans makes it likely that the strongest hurricanes will be more intense, produce more rainfall, and possibly be larger.

Since tracking began in 1980, the top four most economically costly US weather and climate disasters are water-related:

  • tropical cyclones (hurricanes) at $997.3 billion
  • droughts at $258.9 billion
  • severe storms at $286.3 billion
  • inland flooding at $151.0 billion

There are also the threats to groundwater as critical reservoirs and aquifers are emptied at a rate far outpacing their natural replenishment, in part due to agriculture (about 70%), but cities play their part as well.

Maybe time to visit these 10 incredible places before they vanish — all due to climate change-related water issues.

More to learn about water here.


Global fresh water demand will outstrip supply by 40% by 2030

By Fiona Harvey 03/17/23
Landmark report urges overhaul of wasteful water practices around world on eve of crucial UN summitThe world is facing an imminent water crisis, with demand expected to outstrip the supply of fresh water by 40%…
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First look: Clean water for Texas colonias

By Ayurella Horn - Muller 01/25/23
A new pilot initiative is tapping into solar-powered tech as a solution to the water crisis affecting hundreds of thousands of people living in colonias along the U.S. and Mexico border. Driving the news: SOURCE…
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The State of Green Business 2023

By Joel Makower 01/23/23
Stay the course." That may be the key message coming out of the convulsing, confounding year that was 2022. For all that those 12 months threw at us — a still-raging pandemic, a global economic…
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The New York Harbor now teems with life. Thank the Clean Water Act.

By John Waldman 12/30/22
Dr. Waldman is a professor of biology at Queens College and the author of “Heartbeats in the Muck: The History, Sea Life, and Environment of New York Harbor.”
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Arizona Is in a Race to the Bottom of Its Water Wells, With Saudi Arabia’s Help

By Natalie Koch 12/26/22
Arizona’s water is running worryingly low. Amid the worst drought in more than a millennium, which has left communities across the state with barren wells, the state is depleting what remains of its precious groundwater.…
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Recently Passed Federal Funding Package Makes Investments in Natural Climate Solutions

By National Audubon Society 12/23/22
The Fiscal Year 2023 appropriations bill includes important wins for climate and conservation, though fails to include important legislation that would greatly benefit wildlife.
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Water as Part of the Climate Solution

By Charlie Miller 11/28/22
A study from Sweden summarizes the enormous role water plays in climate mitigation, from wetlands that take up carbon to untreated wastewater that emits methane.
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In Hunt to Solve ‘Fairy Circle’ Mystery, One Suspect Is Dismissed

By Rachel Nuwer 11/01/22
The strange, barren spots pepper the vast Namib Desert, which stretches from southern Angola to northern South Africa. They are known as “fairy circles,” and for a natural phenomenon with such a whimsical name, scientific…
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Supreme Court to hear high-stakes challenge to Clean Water Act

By Maxine Joselow and Vanessa Montalbano 09/30/22
Monday marks the first day of the Supreme Court's new term, and the justices are wasting no time in weighing another challenge to one of the nation's bedrock environmental laws.
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Wildfires are burning higher in the West, threatening water supplies

By Joshua Partlow 09/22/22
Two years ago, a wildfire started burning in Colorado’s Arapaho National Forest. Fanned by high winds and parched conditions, the East Troublesome fire raced up the slopes of the Rocky Mountains, at one point crossing…
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Jackson’s Water Crisis Is a Climate Justice Wake-Up Call

By Alajandro De La Garza 09/15/22
n Jackson, Miss., residents were already boiling their water for a month before their taps ran dry at the end of August. That’s when floodwaters from heavy rain overwhelmed the city’s fragile water treatment system,…
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Disconnected and ‘dehumanized’: How thousands across Phoenix survive without running water

By Zayna Syed 09/11/22
Tim Wiedman caught COVID-19 last December. A few days later, he developed bronchitis. A double whammy, he called it. The illnesses sapped his energy so much that, for six weeks, he could barely get off…
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Circle of Blue

Award-winning nonprofit journalism from the frontlines of water, food, and energy in the changing climate.

How we drained California dry

The wind finally blew the other way last night and kicked out the smoke from the burning Sierra. Down here in the flatland of California, we used to regard the granite mountain as a place…

State Of The Beach Report

Greta is known for her famous speeches before world leaders. She recently spoke at COP 26 where delegates from around the world are charged with fulfilling goals of the Paris Agreement and the UN Framework…

Where in the World is the Water?

Water is the defining feature of this planet and fundamental to life as we know it. Most everyone knows that. Of course my special focus is the rise of sea level, primarily as a result of…

Science Empowering Communities In The Face Of Flooding

Surging Waters: Science Empowering Communities in the Face of Flooding is a report produced by AGU, a global not-for-profit scientific society dedicated to advancing the Earth and space sciences for the benefit of humanity.

Water: A human and business priority

Water is the lifeblood of humanity. With it, communities thrive. But, when the supply and demand of fresh water are misaligned, the delicate environmental, social, and financial ecosystems on which we all rely are at…

How Is Climate Change Impacting The Water Cycle?

Find out how rising global temperatures affect the water cycle in our latest infographic.

Acid rain, explained

Acid rain describes any form of precipitation that contains high levels of nitric and sulfuric acids. It can also occur in the form of snow, fog, and tiny bits of dry material that settle to…

Water for People or Nature is a False Choice

When the first photo of Earth was taken from Apollo 17 in 1972, few could understand the cultural impact it would have. The Blue Marble, this singular sphere floating in deep space, was the perfect…


There’s so much to know about our H2O! Where does it come from and how does it get into our homes? How is it cleaned before we drink it? Which laws protect it? What other…

Ocean Facts

Get the facts about our ocean and coasts.

EWG’s Tap Water Data Base

Since 2012, water utilities' testing has found pollutants in Americans' tap water, according to an EWG drinking water quality analysis of 32 million state water records.



Known For Its Floods, Louisiana Is Running Dangerously Short Of Groundwater

By Tegan Wendland and Austin R. Ramsey   03/19/21  
Louisiana is known for its losing battle against rising seas and increasingly frequent floods. It can sometimes seem like the state has too much water. But the aquifers deep beneath its swampy landscape face a…
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Climate Change is Worsening Water Scarcity: How Business Can Help

By Kate Zerrenner   03/18/21  
About 4 billion people live in water-stressed areas and face severe water scarcity during at least one month each year. Over a billion more — including 1 in 4 children — will live in areas…
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Scientists see stronger evidence of slowing Atlantic Ocean circulation, an ‘Achilles’ heel’ of the climate

By Chris Mooney and Andrew Freedman   02/25/21  
A growing body of evidence suggests that a massive change is underway in the sensitive circulation system of the Atlantic Ocean, a group of scientists said Thursday. The Atlantic meridional overturning circulation (AMOC), a system…
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How this proposed constitutional amendment — Amendment D — protects water users

By Brian Maffly   10/22/20  
For decades, some of Utah’s larger cities have been in the retail water delivery business, building service areas that stretch far outside their municipal boundaries.
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Ohio’s Beaches Get ‘F’ Grade On New Report

By Chris Mosby   10/21/20  
Ohio's stretch of Great Lakes beaches received an "F" grade in a new report. The Surfrider Foundation's annual State of the Beach report issues letter grades (like a school report card) to beaches across the…
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Deadly bacteria lurk in coastal waters. Climate change increases the risks

Health workers see Vibrio as a rare danger, if they’ve heard of it at all. But it’s already causing more cases of flesh-eating disease. And it’s poised to get worse.
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‘This Is a War’: Cross-Border Fight Over Water Erupts in Mexico

By Natalie Kitroeff   10/14/20  
Farmers in Mexico ambushed soldiers and seized a dam to stop water payments to the United States, in a sign of growing conflict over increasingly scarce resources.
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Trump Just Lost the ‘Clean Water Case of the Century’

By Olivia Rosane   04/24/20  
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled against the Trump administration Thursday in a case Earthjustice called "the clean water case of the century." The case concerned a...
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Trump Admin’s Clean Water Rollback Will Hit Some States Hard

By Tara Lohan   02/22/20  
By Tara LohanThe Santa Fe River starts high in the forests of New Mexico's Sangre de Cristo mountains and flows 46 miles to the Rio Grande....
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Edwards Aquifer Protection

TNC has helped protect nearly 120,000 acres of land above the Edwards Aquifer, which is one of the most important water resources in Texas.
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U.S. Food Trade Increasingly Leans On Unsustainable Groundwater

By Bret Walton   01/23/20  
American agriculture is a behemoth, a world-leading industry that, while meeting extensive domestic demands, still exports around $140 billion in farm products each year. Soybeans go to China. Cherries to Japan. Baskets of goods to…
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Trump Removes Pollution Controls on Streams and Wetlands

By Coral Davenport   01/22/20  
The Trump administration on Thursday finalized a rule to strip away environmental protections for streams, wetlands and groundwater, handing a victory to farmers, fossil fuel producers and real estate developers who said Obama-era rules had…
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The Water Crisis In Cities Everywhere Is Worsening Already Terrible Inequality

By Maanvi Singh   12/14/19  
While the rich can drill wells and keep swimming pools filled, poorer residents line up for water and struggle to survive. ...
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20% of Global Population at Risk From Climate Chaos, Rising Demand of Mountain Water, Study Says

By Olivia Rosane   12/10/19  
The drinking water of 1.9 billion people is at risk from the climate crisis and the demand for water is rising, a study published Monday in...
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New Hampshire wants to test all bottled water for PFAS contaminants

As state and local officials adapt to new guidelines for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, bottled water is getting more attention....
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Climate change could double greenhouse gas emissions from freshwater lakes

By University of Cambridge   11/18/19  
Every drop of fresh water contains thousands of different organic molecules that have previously gone unnoticed. By measuring the diversity of these molecules and how they interact with the environment around them, research has revealed…
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The Clean Water Case of the Century

The U.S. Supreme Court is set to review Hawaiʻi Wildlife Fund v. County of Maui. The fate of the nation’s clean water hangs in the balance.
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Giant Water Battery Cuts University’s Energy Costs by $100 Million

A giant water battery that stands three-stories high will help The University of the Sunshine Coast in Australia reach its goal to be carbon neutral by...
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As Climate Warms, Plants May Demand More Water, Cutting Supplies for People

New study challenges many climate scientists' expectations that plants will make much of the world wetter in the future. ...
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A new report ranks the cleanliness of airline water. It’s not great

Next time you're on a plane, you may want to pass on the coffee or tea....
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What desert cities can teach us about water

By Rudri Patel   10/09/19  
A rise in temperatures coupled with population growth calls into question the long-term sustainability of desert cities...
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In the Mountains, Climate Change Is Disrupting Everything, from How Water Flows to When Plants Flower

By Bob Berwyn   10/07/19  
With ominous orange-gray smoke clouds seething on the western horizon, it's easy to understand how Colorado's highest city and other mountain communities are directly threatened by global warming.
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Successful Ocean-Monitoring Satellite Mission Ends

The Jason-2/Ocean Surface Topography Mission (OSTM), the third in a U.S.-European series of satellite missions designed to measure sea surface height, successfully ended its science mission on Oct. 1.
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River Flows All Across the Globe Are Dropping

By Eric Roston   10/02/19  
Groundwater pumping in some of the world’s critical watersheds exceeds safe levels. It’s causing surface waters to fall at an alarming rate.
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‘No state in the country is spared’ from f‘No state in the country is spared’ from flooding risks, new report sayslooding risks, new report says

By Nina Pullano   09/25/19  
The United States is getting wetter, and people across the country, from local government officials to scientists, all need to help communities prepare for an uptick in flooding, a new report says.
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Two Months in the Southern Ocean, for Science

Under the leadership of Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory scientists, two different expeditions sailed to the stormy Southern Ocean to learn more about Earth’s climate history. ...
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How Cape Town Avoided a Water Crisis at the Eleventh Hour

By Charlotte EdmondCape Town's water crisis got so bad last year that there were competitions to see who could wash their shirts the least. Restaurants and...
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This is what it’s like to swim through the Great Pacific Garbage Patch

Long-distance swimmer Ben Lecomte is helping collect scientific samples in a vortex of ocean plastic....
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Extreme water stress affects a quarter of the world’s population, say experts

By Emily Holden and Vidhi Doshi   08/07/19  
A quarter of the world's population across 17 countries are living in regions of extremely high water stress, a measure of the level of competition over water resources, a new report reveals...
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Mapping the strain on our water supply

Pockets in several U.S. states - and across the globe - are draining their limited water supplies....
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A Quarter of Humanity Faces Looming Water Crises

By Somini Sengupta and Weiyi Cai   08/06/19  
Countries that are home to one-fourth of Earth’s population face an increasingly urgent risk: The prospect of running out of water. From India to Iran to Botswana, 17 countries around the world are currently under…
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Conserving Coastal Habitats Can Help Address Climate Change

Paris Agreement provides framework for countries to protect vital ecosystems. Coastal wetlands and coral reefs are among the planet’s most biologically rich ecosystems, serving as nurseries and feeding grounds for a vast array of fish,…
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The Water Future of Earth’s ‘Third Pole’

This article is part of a series that explores NASA research into Earth's fresh water and surveys how those advances help people solve real world problems. Learn more. Himalaya. Karakoram. Hindu Kush. The names of…
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NASA Explores Our Changing Freshwater World

Water is so commonplace that we often take it for granted. But too much – or too little of it – makes headlines. Catastrophic flooding in the U.S. Midwest this spring has caused billions of…
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World Oceans Day: 5 Key Issues

Saturday, June 8 was World Oceans Day – an annual event started in 1992. It might seem silly that we need a day to honor and remind us of the importance of the sea, but…
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See the drastic toll climate change is taking on our oceans

By Kennedy Elliott   06/07/19  
For World Oceans Day, we look at the impact our carbon emissions are having, from the shore to the deep sea.  
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From Toilet to Tap: What Cities Need to Overcome to Make That Happen

By Sasha Harris-Lovett and David Sedlak   05/17/19  
In recent years, the idea of creating a circular economy—in which all of the resources coming into our cities are recycled after they are used—has taken hold. We now routinely recycle paper, glass and food…
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Climate change and population growth are making the world’s water woes more urgent

As it scours the universe for signs of extraterrestrial life, nasa has a motto-cum-mission-statement: “Follow the water”. About 70% of the human body is made up of water, it says, and 70% of Earth’s surface…
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50 Million Gallons of Toxic Water Flows Into Lakes and Streams Every Day in the US

By Elias Marat   02/22/19  
A new Associated Press report has blown the lid off the mining industry’s toxic effect on drinking water sources across the United States.
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Trump EPA Proposes Major Rollback Of Federal Water Protections Facebook Twitter Flipboard Email

by Nathan Rott   12/11/18  
Vast amounts of wetlands and thousands of miles of U.S. waterways would no longer be federally protected by the Clean Water Act under a new proposal by the Trump administration.
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GRACE Sees Groundwater Losses Around the World

NASA’s Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) has measured significant groundwater depletion around the world in recent years.
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