The Future of Water:
A KPCC show originating in Southern CA about the drought, discussed points true for any drought. (1) (2). One of the challenges of climate change and global warming is these occur slowly over time, making it harder to see. This is true here in California and it was not until Governor Brown created the emergency executive orders along with the picture of the lack of snowpack that the message was received. Note that action occurred soon after the executive orders so these orders need to continue to continue saving water. . Some thoughts on managing the situation:
We are facing challenges and need to properly value, price and use water.
The drought was not caused by climate change but, the world’s rising average temperature is due to climate change and makes the drought worse. We have had higher average temperatures over the last 10 years than we have had in the past 100 years. Pasadena currently has 22 days with temperatures exceeding 95 degrees, due to grow to 66 days by 2040. We need to stay focused on addressing climate change.
We need to manage both floods and drought. Extreme weather from global warming will cause both.
We need to plan for a growing population in CA, from 39 million in 2015 to 47 million in 2040. Using the same growth rate, the Bay Area will grow from 7.5 million to 9 million in 2040 and 10 million in 2050.
The latest drought in Australia led to a number of water recycling programs (4). In Texas, (5) where evaporation is a challenge, they are planning to pump water into aquifers. Texas also does some desalination of brackish water. California can do more to address aquifers state wide and look at what Santa Clara Valley Water District has done to manage their three underground reservoirs. More water recycling is needed, and should be in the 2015 Urban Water Management plans.
California farming will still be a major user of water given the large percentage of US food grown here (6). The farm of the future will have embedded moisture sensors, sunshine sensors, tie into the weather system and report results to the internet.
Keeping wild species from extinction. will be a challenge. We need to create interconnected nature reserves to enable animal migration to more favorable climates.
Our next steps: /Net Positive
The CA Waterboard issues reports on water consumption on a monthly basis, which keeps eyes on the problem. We need to keep conserving water even in the winter months. To save as much as the summer is difficult as we normally cut water consumption for watering lawns during the rainy season.
At some point we need to change our water regulations. Managing water will now be a continuing part of life in California and will likely spread to other areas as the climate heats up.
(8) http://www.npr.org/2015/05/28/408295800/the-water-knife-cuts-deep (Water Science Fiction)