Future climatic conditions and tectonic processes have the potential to cause significant changes of the hydrologic system in the southern Great Basin, where a nuclear-waste repository is proposed for construction above the water table at Yucca Mountain, Nevada. Geothermal anomalies in the vicinity of Yucca Mountain probably result from the local and regional transport of heat by ground-water flow. Regionally and locally irregular patterns of hydraulic potential, local marsh and pond deposits, and calcite veins in faults and fractures probably are related principally to climatically imposed hydrologic conditions within the geologic and topographic framework. However, tectonic effects on the hydrologic system have also been proposed as the causes of these features, and existing data limitations preclude a full evaluation of these competing hypotheses. A broad program that integrates many disciplines of earth science is required in order to understand the relation of hydrology to past, present and future climates and tectonism.