Water Quality and Quantity, Climate Change and Public Health

Water Quality & Quantity
Climate Change Training Module
Water Quality and Quantity,
Climate Change and Public
Minnesota Climate and Health Program
Minnesota Department of Health
Environmental Impacts Analysis Unit
October 2012
625 Robert Street North
PO Box 64975
St. Paul, MN 55164-0975
MDH developed this presentation based on
scientific research published in peer-reviewed
journals. References for information can be
found in the relevant slides and/or at the end
of the presentation.
Learning Objectives
 Importance of water in Minnesota
 Climate changes in Minnesota
 Public health issues related to:
1. Increases in water
2. Decreases in water
3. Increases in water temperature
 Water Sources
 Water Cycle
 Water Uses
Minnesota: A Land of Water
 Surface water: 11,842
lakes greater than 10
acres and 63,000
miles of rivers and
(NCDC 2006, University of Minnesota Water Resources
Center 2011)
 Groundwater: several
aquifers across the
state and approximately 400,000
drinking water wells
(DNR, 2010; MDH, 2012)
Source: University of Minnesota Water Resources Center 2011
Minnesota: A Land of Water
 Has the most freshwater
among the 48 lower
(University of Minnesota Water Resources Center,
 At the head of four
continental watersheds
and is the headwaters
and origin of three of
the watersheds
(DNR, 2000)
Source: DNR, 2000
Water in Minnesota
 99% of the water that comes into Minnesota is in the
form of precipitation
(University of Minnesota Water Resources Center 2011)
 We control the quality & quantity of water we use
and discard
Water in Minnesota
 Three main air masses
affect Minnesota’s
Cold, dry, polar continental
from the north
Dry, tropical continental
Warm, moist tropical
maritime from the Gulf of
Major air masses converging to MN
Hydrologic Cycle
 The hydrologic cycle
describes the continuous
movement of water:
 Evaporation to the
 Precipitation to the land
 Infiltration to groundwater
 Discharge to surface water
 Changes in climate can
alter the hydrologic cycle
 Temperature affects water
vapor which affects
Water Use
 19% water use comes from ground water and the remaining
comes from surface water
Total water use in MN from 1985 to 2010
Water Use
Minnesota Drinking Water
 78% of Minnesotans rely
on public drinking water
which is largely from
groundwater (~70%)
 One million Minnesotans
(22%) rely on private
wells, which all use
Water is Key
 Minnesota is rich in water resources
 High quality, abundant water is essential to
Minnesota economy, culture, future
 Understanding the basic properties of the
water cycle and the atmosphere is
fundamental to understanding impacts of
climate change on water
 Temperature
 Dew point
 Precipitation
Weather versus Climate
 Weather: conditions of the
atmosphere over a short
period of time
 Climate: conditions of the
atmosphere over long
periods of time (30-year
standard averaging period)
Climate Changes in Minnesota
There have been three recent significant
observed climate trends in Minnesota:
 The average temperature is increasing
 The average number of days with a high
dew point may be increasing
 The character of precipitation is changing
Temperature Changes
Temperature has been rising in Minnesota.
Minnesota Average Temperature
12 month period ending December
Source: Western Regional Climate Center
Temperature (°F)
Ending Year of Period
Annual Average Temperature
10-Year Running Average
Temperature Changes
Three significant observations in this overall
 Winter temperatures have been rising about twice
as fast as annual average temperatures
 Minimum or 'overnight low' temperatures have
been rising faster than the maximum
temperature, or ‘daytime high’
 Since the early 1980s, the temperature has risen
slightly over 1°F in southern Minnesota to a little
over 2°F in much of the northern part of the state
Temperature and Ice Cover
Lake Superior
Dew Point Changes
 Dew point is a measure of water vapor in the
 The higher the dew point, the more difficult it
is for people's sweat to evaporate, which is
how they cool themselves
 The number of days with high dew point
temperatures (≥ 70 °F) may be increasing in
Dew Point Changes
Source: Dr. Mark Seeley, Climatologist, University of Minnesota
Precipitation Changes
On average, the total precipitation in the state has increased
since the Dust Bowl era of the 1930s.
Minnesota Total Annual Precipitation
12 month period ending in December
Source: Western Regional Climate Center
Precipitation (inches)
Ending Year of Period
Total Annual Precipitation
10-year Running Average
Precipitation Changes
 The character of precipitation in Minnesota is
 More localized, heavy precipitation events
 Potential to cause both increased flooding and
Public health issues related to:
 Increases in water
 Decreases in water
 Increases in water temperature
Increases in Water
Highway 169 between St. Peter and LeSueur
 Precipitation Changes
 Flooding
 Humidity & Dew Point
Precipitation Changes
Changes in Snowfall Contributions to Wintertime Precipitation
(1949 to 2005)
More wintertime precipitation falls as rain rather than snow
 This trend may increase risks of runoff and floods
 Reduced snowpack may lead to lower water levels and drought in
late summer
(Karl et al. 2009)
Precipitation Changes
 Greatest increase in very
heavy precipitation in the
past 50 years occurred in
the Northeast and the
(Karl et al. 2009)
 Total precipitation in the
Midwest and Northeast is
expected to increase the
most with the largest
increases in heavy
precipitation events
(Karl et al. 2009)
Very heavy precipitation is defined as the heaviest 1 percent
of all daily events from 1958 to 2007 for each region.
Public Health Issues - Precipitation
Extreme Precipitation
Physical injuries
and destruction
of property
Increased runoff:
nitrate, etc.
of surface and
Waterborne disease outbreaks from drinking
water or recreational contact (beachgoers):
Giardiasis, E coli, Cryptosporidium
 Flooding results from a combination of
 Land use changes that reduce infiltration
 Undersized sewer/stormwater pipes
 Extreme precipitation and/or rapid snowmelt
 Flood magnitude and
frequency are likely to
increase in most
regions, and volumes
of low flows are likely
to decrease in many
(Field et al, 2007)
 2012 Duluth/northeastern Minnesota 500-year flood
Photo credits: Rachel Agurkis
(top), Derek Montgomery for
MPR (right)
Public Health Issues - Flooding
 Potential increases of:
 physical injuries
(including drowning)
 allergies (mold)
 food and water-borne
 food security
 displacement
 mental health issues
 interruption of
emergency services
(WHO, 2010)
Oslo, MN, May 14, 2009
35 days after the Red River flooded
Public Health Issues - Flooding
 Foodborne illnesses (e.g. Salmonellosis)
 Increased risk from contamination of certain food crops
with feces from nearby livestock or wild animals following
heavy rain and flooding
(Ebi et al, 2008; CCSP, 2008)
 Waterborne illnesses
 Caused by pathogens
(e.g. Cryptosporidium and
Giardia) which may increase
following downpours
 Can also be transmitted
in drinking water and
through recreational use
(Ebi et al, 2008; CCSP, 2008)
Public Health Issues - Flooding
1993 Milwaukee Cryptosporidium Outbreak
 1.61 M people were affected;
over 400,000 w/ significant
symptoms; 100 people died
 Median duration of illness was
9 days (range, 1 to 55)
 Clinical manifestations
included watery diarrhea
(93%), abdominal cramps
(84%), fever (57%), vomiting
 $31.7 million in total medical
costs and $64.6 million in total
lost productivity
Public Health Issues - Flooding
 Mental health: anxiety disorders, depression,
psychological effects
(Ebi et al. 2008)
Humidity/Dew Point Increase
 Greater frequency of tropical-like
atmospheric water vapor
(Mark Seeley, 2012)
Humidity/Dew Point Increase
 July 19, 2011: highest dew point temperature recorded
ever in Minnesota 88°F dew point in Moorhead
(combined with 93°F air temperature, it felt like 130°F)
(State Climatology Office)
Heat Index
The Heat Index (HI): calculation that describes how the air
temperature and dew point are perceived the human body
(Source: NWS, 2011b)
Public Health Issues – Humidity & Heat
 Human health issues:
 heat rash, heat exhaustion, heatstroke, death
 Stressed livestock:
 reduced milk
production, reproduction
problems, death
 Algae blooms
 Mold
 Increased vector and
microorganism populations
Decrease in Water
 Drought
 Lower water
Water Levels: Great Lakes
Average Great Lakes levels depends on the balance between precipitation and evaporation
(Hayhoe et al. 2010)
Public Health Issues –
Drought & Lower Water Levels
 Reduced soil moisture reserves,
groundwater supplies, lake and
wetland levels, and stream flows
 Potential concentration of
 Decreasing water supply for
drinking water and agriculture
 Agriculture: adversely affects crop progress and soil moisture and therefore
food supply
 Wildfire dangers (e.g., Pagami Creek Fire, Boundary Waters Canoe Area
Wilderness – started August 18th 2011; 92,682 acres as of Oct. 13th 2011):
injuries, property damage, anxiety, psychological effects
Increase in Water Temperature
 Changes in fish
populations &
 Algal blooms
 Reduced dissolved
 Incomplete mixing
 Increased vectors
 Invasive species/ northern expansion of
Fish Populations & Mercury
 Warmer waters could harm
fish populations and
biological activity of cold
aquatic ecosystems
 Warmer waters and rainfall
intensity may be
contributing to an increase
in mercury concentrations
in fish
Conceptual diagram of climate
warming effects on Minnesota fish
Source: Peter Jacobson,
DNR Fisheries Research Supervisor
Harmful Algal Blooms & Reduced
Dissolved Oxygen
 Increased pollution and temperatures can
result in blooms of harmful algae and bacteria
and reduce the amount of dissolved oxygen
Incomplete mixing
 Longer periods of stratification (surface and
water bottom don’t mix) may cause dead
zones (low oxygen levels) and decrease selfpurification capabilities of water features
 May cause fish kills, poor water quality,
increased insect populations, etc.
Increased vectors
 Climate change may contribute to the
breeding of insects (e.g., mosquitoes) and
may increase the risk of vector-borne
diseases (e.g., West Nile virus)
Invasive species & northern
expansion of organisms
 Invasive species
Asian carp
Zebra mussels
Sea lamprey
Many zebra mussels attached to a
DNR Invasive Species
native mussel.
Source: MN DNR
 Expansion of disease-causing organisms
 Naegleria fowleri
Public Health Strategies
Green infrastructure
Grey infrastructure
Emergency Preparedness
Individual Strategies
Green Infrastructure
 Rely on natural processes:
 Evaporation
 Trees and plant cover
 Infiltration
 Rain gardens
 Pervious pavers
 Wetlands
Above: Target Center Roof in Minneapolis
Conservation Subdivision 50
Grey Infrastructure
 Increase capacity of stormwater pipes,
storage tanks and wastewater treatment
facilities to accommodate larger rain events
Green & Grey Infrastructure
Water Management Solutions
1. Protect natural
drainage patterns,
watersheds and water
2. Infiltrate and collect
3. Plant native, droughtresistant plants
4. Conserve water (e.g.,
low irrigation
5. Reuse water
Source: DNR, 2011d
Emergency Preparedness
Emergency preparedness:
 Plan for floods and extreme weather events
 Minnesota Water/Wastewater Agency Response Network
(MnWARN): http://www.mnwarn.org/
 Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) website on preparing
for floods: http://www.pca.state.mn.us/index.php/waste/wasteand-cleanup/cleanup-programs-and-topics/cleanupprograms/emergency-response/floods-minimizing-pollution-andhealth-risks.html
 Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) website on protecting
private wells from floods:
 Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) National Flood
Insurance Program: http://www.fema.gov/business/nfip/
Individual Strategies
Contaminated Water
 Drink bottled water during and/or after a flood or outbreak
 Get your well tested
 http://www.health.state.mn.us/divs/eh/wells/waterquality/index.html
 Treat contaminated water
 http://www.health.state.mn.us/divs/eh/wells/waterquality/disinfection.ht
 Seek information on beaches prior to swimming and avoid
visibly contaminated waters
 Beach info: http://www.health.state.mn.us/divs/eh/beaches/index.html
 Blue-green algae:
 Track fish consumption advisories
 http://www.health.state.mn.us/divs/eh/fish/
 Water has always been an important and abundant
resource in Minnesota
 Minnesota’s climate is predicted to change in the future
and will impact water quality and quantity
 There are serious public health issues related to:
 Increases in water
 Decreases in water
 Increases in water temperature
 Strategies to prevent injury and illness include
infrastructure adaptation and public health planning and
This work was supported by cooperative
agreement 5UE1EH000738 from the Centers for
Disease Control and Prevention
Special thanks to the following people for their
contributions to the creation of this training module:
Anita Anderson, MDH
Patti Craddock, Short Elliott Hendrickson Inc. (SEH)
Chris Elvrum, MDH
Tannie Eshenaur, MDH
Ann Pierce, DNR
Angela Preimesberger, MPCA
Lih-in Rezania, MDH
Andrew Sullivan, Eden Prairie
Thank you
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Photo Credits
Slide 4: Photograph by Chaïna Bapikee
Slide 7: Images from Microsoft Clip Art
Slide 12: Images from Microsoft Clip Art
Slide 15: Images from Microsoft Clip Art
Slide 19: Images from Microsoft Clip Art
Slide 25: KEYC Television
Slide 26: Photograph by Sam Choo, available at
Slide 29: Photograph by Patsy Lynch/FEMA, August 23, 2007 Stockton
Slide 30: Left image from Rachel Agurkis, Right image from Derek Montgomery for MPR
Slide 31: Photograph by Ed Edahl/FEMA, May 14, 2009 Oslo
Slide 32: Image of salmonella from Wikipedia, available at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salmonella
Slide 33: Photograph credit - Kathy Blair & Jeffrey P. Davis, MD Wisconsin Division of Public Health
Slide 34: Photograph by Gettyimages
Slide 35: Image by Tildology, available at http://tildology.com/2011/07/19/misery-index-weather-wise/
Slide 36: The Weather Channel 2011
Slide 38: Top image from AFP/Getty Images (provided by Peter Synder, UMN)
Slide 39: Left photograph DNR, right photograph by Chaïna Bapikee
Slide 42: Photograph by Kate Houston
Slide 43: Image from Microsoft Clip Art
Slide 45: Photograph of blue-green algae, Source: MPCA
Slide 47: Image of mosquito from Wikipedia, available at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mosquito
Slide 48: Image of zebra mussels from MN DNR, available at
Slide 50: Top image from Pam Blixt, City of Minneapolis; bottom image from Microsoft Clip Art
Slide 51: Image of culvert from Wikipedia, available at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Culvert