Climate change presents challenges for N.H. water suppliers

Climate change poses a number of concerns with respect to water supplies in New Hampshire, say state officials and water suppliers...

CONCORD, NH, May 7, 2009 -- Climate change poses a number of concerns with respect to water supplies in New Hampshire, say state officials and water suppliers. As a consequence of more frequent severe storms, rising temperatures, and potentially more frequent droughts, water systems are likely to have to deal with water quality issues, increased demand, and the reliability of their water supply sources.

"Looking into the not-too-distant future, climate change is one of the biggest issues facing water suppliers in particular and water resources in general," stated Sarah Pillsbury, administrator of DES's Drinking Water and Groundwater Bureau. Pillsbury has spearheaded an effort to develop a state water resources plan in consultation with legislators and a broad range of stakeholders.

"Sustainability is the key concept here," notes David Paris, president of the New Hampshire Water Works Association and Water Supply Administrator at Manchester Water Works. "Sustainability is fully ingrained in the actions of water suppliers. After all, their job is to assure drinking water for a community, not only for today, but to plan for future generations as well."

According to Paris, the impact of climate change on resource availability and quality has challenged water suppliers to broaden their view to include alterations in precipitation patterns where periods of excessive rainfall must be balanced against the potential for extended periods of drought. When taking a view of what constitutes an adequate supply, water resource planners are looking at a future where conventional plans and projections may not hold up to these altered weather patterns.

Governor John Lynch has proclaimed May 3-9, 2009 as Drinking Water Week. The challenge of climate change was identified as one of the state's top drinking water issues in a recently released DES report that covers a broad range of water resources problems.

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>> Click here for the New Hampshire Water Resources Primer
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