Priorities for California’s Water: Thriving with Less
Nov 18, 2022 at 4:50pm
In the last decade, California—along with the rest of the world—has entered a new phase of climate change. The changes that scientists predicted have started to arrive. California’s already variable climate is growing increasingly volatile and unpredictable: The dry periods are hotter and drier, and the wet periods—lately too few and far between—are warmer and often more intense.
Across the state, water and land managers are being forced to respond in real time to changes that were once hard to imagine. The snowpack—that once-reliable annual source of water—is diminishing as temperatures rise. Water withdrawals during multiyear droughts are depleting the state’s reservoirs and groundwater basins. Hundreds of thousands of acres of farmland come out of production during droughts; further reductions will be needed to restore our groundwater basins to balance. And mammoth floods could eventually devastate our currently parched state. Warming is also intensifying water quality problems, such as harmful algal blooms. These changes are posing widespread challenges for our businesses, communities, and ecosystems—and often hitting low-income residents the hardest.
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