Standard Article

202 Use of Climate Information in Water Resources Management

Part 17. Climate Change

  1. Holly C Hartmann

Published Online: 15 APR 2006

DOI: 10.1002/0470848944.hsa213

Encyclopedia of Hydrological Sciences

Encyclopedia of Hydrological Sciences

How to Cite

Hartmann, H. C. 2006. Use of Climate Information in Water Resources Management. Encyclopedia of Hydrological Sciences. 17:202.

Author Information

  1. The University of Arizona, Department of Hydrology and Water Resources, Tucson, AZ, US

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 15 APR 2006


Failures in water resources management, evolving societal objectives, and advances in the scientific understanding of hydroclimatic systems have led to reassessment of techniques traditionally used in support of water resources management policies and practices. Climate information, encompassing a variety of timescales, is clearly useful for water resources management, yet remains underutilized. This article examines historical climate information provided by instrumental records and paleoclimatological indicators, and prognostications of future climate conditions provided by climate forecasts and assessments of climate change, and issues related to their use in water resources management. Two issues are of central importance: nonstationarity and uncertainty. The water resources community must accept that in many cases one of the fundamental assumptions underlying classical hydrology is simply incorrect. However, the water resources management community need not assess climate information and its use in isolation. Networks of researchers, including hydroclimatic and social scientists, are actively seeking more integrated involvement with the water resources management community, are adapting their research agenda and activities to address the needs of decision makers and stakeholders, and are committed to developing practical products and decision-support tools.


  • climate;
  • water management;
  • hydroclimatology;
  • climate forecasts;
  • climate change;
  • paleoclimatology