Water Availability


Water Availability

The Climate and Life Initiative funds Columbia University scientists who study how changing water availability impacts agriculture, water resources, ecosystems, and human society.

We also support scientists who investigate the physical causes and impacts of hydrological change across the globe on socially relevant timescales to make more reliable predictions of water availability and the likelihood of extreme events occurring.

Climate change will further stress the availability of water, increase the risk of flooding, and threaten water quality. We must continue to invest in technology and infrastructure to improve water supply management for cities and industries, for rural and other at-risk populations, and to build adaptive capacity to changing water-related risks.

We know that widespread, severe droughts, and extreme weather events are expected to become more frequent as the world warms. Increased extremes and more irregular variability will create new challenges for developers of sustainable methods for access to and transport of fresh water.

Yet we need to know more about how drought and flood risk will evolve in the coming years and decades, especially as the contrasts between wet and dry regions intensify, rain belts shift and precipitation extremes amplify.

We invest in Columbia University scientists whose research explores questions such as:

  • Which regions will dry significantly? Why, by how much, and when?
  • What is the ocean’s role in driving continental drought?
  • How do floods and droughts affect geopolitical stability?

Our goal is to generate new knowledge that helps minimize societal vulnerability and improve efficiency in all uses of water: individual, collective, agricultural, and industrial. Together we can create a future where the world’s population and economic sectors have safe, reliable access to this basic human need.