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At the nexus of fire, water and society

June 1, 2016

The societal risks of water scarcity and water-quality impairment have received considerable attention, evidenced by recent analyses of these topics by the 2030 Water Resources Group, the United Nations and the World Economic Forum. What are the effects of fire on the predicted water scarcity and declines in water quality? Drinking water supplies for humans, the emphasis of this exploration, are derived from several land cover types, including forests, grasslands and peatlands, which are vulnerable to fire. In the last two decades, fires have affected the water supply catchments of Denver (CO) and other southwestern US cities, and four major Australian cities including Sydney, Canberra, Adelaide and Melbourne. In the same time period, several, though not all, national, regional and global water assessments have included fire in evaluations of the risks that affect water supplies. The objective of this discussion is to explore the nexus of fire, water and society with the hope that a more explicit understanding of fire effects on water supplies will encourage the incorporation of fire into future assessments of water supplies, into the pyrogeography conceptual framework and into planning efforts directed at water resiliency.

Publication Year 2016
Title At the nexus of fire, water and society
DOI 10.1098/rstb.2015.0172
Authors Deborah A. Martin
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
Index ID 70171471
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization National Research Program - Central Branch