Withdrawals of water, construction of dams and other infrastructure, pollution, land-use shifts, invasive species, and habitat modification and destruction have altered and degraded many rivers, lakes and wetlands over the past century.

In recent decades, anthropogenic climate change has also begun to alter freshwater ecosystems, and this force will continue to increase, raising a number of new concerns for the future quality of freshwater resources.

In this report, the WWF explore many of these concerns and propose seven elements of an adaptive water strategy: develop institutional capacity; create flexible allocation systems and agreements; reduce external non-climate pressures; help species, human communities and economies to move their ranges; think carefully about water infrastructure development and management; institute sustainable flood management policies; and support climate-aware government and development planning.