New York State Water Resources Institute

Program or topic

New York State Water Resources Institute

Department(s) or unit(s)

  • Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences
  • Department of Crop and Soil Sciences

Contact information

Susan Riha
Director, NYS Water Resources Institute
Charles L. Pack Research Professor of Forest Soils
Dept. of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences

Program goals

To study the effects of climate change on various water resource issues, such as rising sea levels and current groundwater uses, storm water surges, flooding, drought, and water quality.

Brief description

New York State Water Resources Institute collaborates with regional, state, and national partners to increase awareness of emerging water resources issues and to develop and assess new water management technologies and policies. The institute connects the water research and water management communities.

Current climate predictions will challenge water managers in many ways, including:

  • Evaporation will intensify and total precipitation may increase 10% by end of the century, with most of the increase concentrated in the winter months and a higher proportion of winter precipitation falling as rain rather than snow.
  • Average precipitation on rainy days, the number of heavy events with more than 2 inches of rainfall in a single day, and the total rainfall in the biggest storms are projected to increase substantially by the end of the century. More rain on rainy days and more frequent large rainfall events will increase surface runoff, thereby influencing flooding risks and diminishing groundwater recharge.
  • Increasing evaporative demand with rising summer temperatures coupled with stable summer rainfall, will increase the frequency of summer drought.
  • Reduced snowpack and an increase in winter rainfall, higher frequencies of summer drought, and a change in rainfall intensity will all impact streamflow, groundwater recharge, and the reliability of water supply systems. In coastal areas, rising sea level will exacerbate saltwater intrusion into groundwater.

For more information


New York State Water Resources Institute

Key Publications:

  • Johnson, M.S., M. Weiler, E.G. Couto, S. Riha and J. Lehmann. 2007. Storm pulses of dissolved CO2 in a forested headwater Amazonian stream explored using hydrograph separation. Water Resources Research. (In press).
  • Feldpausch, T.R., C. Prates-Clark, E.C.M. Fernandes and S.J. Riha. 2007. Secondary forest growth deviation from chronosequence predictions in central Amazonia. Global Change Biology. 13, 967-979.

Category: Earth & Atmospheric Sciences, Ecosystems, Freshwater, Marine, Natural resources, Water/flooding

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