G. Mehan III

G. Tracy Mehan III is an environmental consultant based in Arlington, Virginia, and a former assistant administrator for water at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Recent Articles

Water and Climate Change: Perfect Storm in Sight

Online Extra: The reality of drought will require tremendous resilience in adapting to the untoward impacts.

The consequences of climate change are being felt, most acutely, in waters and watersheds throughout the United States. Water supply, water quality, natural flow regimes, and the human beings and ecosystems depending on them are all being deeply affected, imposing mounting new pressures on watershed management and on water and wastewater utilities. According to a recent study by the American Water Works Association Research Foundation and University Corporation for Atmospheric Research, the best science suggests that the global climate cycle will become more intense, resulting in heavier but less frequent periods of precipitation. The science points to the possibility of longer periods of drought alternating with spells of heavy rainfall and runoff, usually very polluted. Greater variability in runoff and variation in flow regimes would make the maintenance of optimal reservoir levels more difficult, reducing the reliability of water storage. Increased reliance on groundwater during...