Billions of people worldwide rely on headwater-derived water. Water at high elevations is stored in glaciers, seasonal snowpack, groundwater, lakes, wetlands, and human-made reservoirs – providing a buffering effect that supports a consistent water supply during drier periods. Unfortunately, headwaters are among the least monitored freshwater systems, and we lack adequate data for even the most basic water balance quantification . Further, as coupled natural-human systems, headwaters disproportionately experience climate change and experience increasing competition with downstream regions for water supply to cities, agriculture, energy production, and ecological flows.
This RCN is focused on water resource systems along a Transect of the Americas where low altitude areas rely heavily, or exclusively, on water generated in high altitude areas. In an uncertain hydrologic future, HDSs must develop adaptation strategies to short- and long-term challenges presented by changing hydro-climatic patterns.
Meet our RCN Team Members