Global Warming and Water Quality

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Every day, we are bombarded with news from a variety of sources: from newspapers to Web sites to television to friends. With the 24-hour news cycle, it can be difficult for the average person to filter through all this information. This can be even more frustrating when it comes to news that directly impacts you and your family.

With the flood of information on global warming and its effects on the environment, it can seem as if the average consumer is being left out. The news tends to concentrate more on the macro level and not specifically on how global warming does and can affect individuals and families.

Families throughout the country enjoy the outdoors-boating, swimming, camping, hiking, etc. But with the potential damage that global climate change can have on our outdoor fun, it’s essential for us all to understand the extent of the damage that could occur.

What is the impact, if any, of global warming on water quality? Is the impact detrimental or negligible? How is the average family affected by the effects of global climate change?

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the impact of global warming on water quality could be substantial. In a report titled “Environmental Quality and Recreation,” some of their findings demonstrate just how important protecting the environment is. Here are some of the study’s findings:

If river flows decrease and temperatures continue to rise (as a result of global climate change), water quality in the nation’s rivers, bays and lakes could suffer. In rivers where the flows decrease, “pollution concentrations will rise because there will be less water to dilute the pollutants.”

  1. This would ultimately require sewage treatments plants and other water pollution controls to be upgraded-in an effort to protect against the quantity of pollutants. The cost for these upgrades would be substantial.
  2. Some argue that global warming will lead to increased severity of storms. In this case, with even more severe rainstorms, chemical runoff from farms, lawns, streets-and into lakes, rivers and bays-would increase. This increase would result in a myriad of additional problems.
  3. If the amount of dissolved oxygen in the nation’s water system is reduced, it could effectively suffocate fish, thus impacting a food source for many Americans.
  4. “Climate change could increase the salinity of some water bodies” (same source as above).

These and a host of other problems from global climate change will affect the nation’s water quality. With something as vital at the nation’s water, it’s critical average consumers know as much as possible, thus increasing their ability to protect themselves and their families.

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