Understanding Land-River Connectivity is Crucial to Protecting River Water Quality

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Posted: June 18, 2024

Understanding Land-River Connectivity is Crucial to Protecting River Water Quality

"The research stresses the importance of policies and actions that begin to incorporate water quality considerations into climate risk assessments, policy discussions, and climate adaptation strategies."

Published in Nature Climate Change this week, the review article "River Water Quality Shaped by Land–River Connectivity in a Changing Climate" advocates for rethinking the assessment of water quality within the context of climate change and climate extremes.

The authors highlight the overlooked importance of considering deteriorating water quality in a changing climate, affected both by persistent, gradual change and episodic, intense climate extreme events such as fire, droughts, and floods.

Conventional methods of assessing environmental impacts on water quality often do not fully capture the complex interactions between land, water, and human activity, thus underestimating the challenges to future water quality. The research provides a more comprehensive review that takes into account the various factors affecting water quality, and emphasizes the importance of data collection under climate extremes and models that can help understand processes and synthesize data.

Contributors to this study include members of the Critical Zone Collaborative Network Big Data Cluster. This interdisciplinary team, composed of hydrologists, geologists, and computer scientists—including both early career and established experts from China, the United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia— underscores the importance of international cooperation as climate change affects the physical, chemical, and ecological structures of land and rivers, ultimately impacting water quality.

The research stresses the importance of policies and actions that begin to incorporate water quality considerations into climate risk assessments, policy discussions, and climate adaptation strategies to ensure the resilience and sustainability of water resources for future generations.

Access “River water quality shaped by land–river connectivity in a changing climate", and sharedIt link: https://rdcu.be/dAAhw