Saturday, January 19, 2013

Key to water management adaptation? Mostly good management.

Check out an excellent blog post "Climate change and California water – past, present and future" (Jan. 13, 2013) by Professor Jay Lund from UC Davis' Center for Watershed Sciences.

He makes a few excellent points, with the bottom line that good management for climate change is mostly just good management. He points out the fact that climate change isn't the only signal that managers will have to monitor: "In the past 100 years, California water management has changed tremendously, driven by changes in population, economic structure, technology, and social and environmental objectives."

He also points out that we don't necessarily need any more reservoirs here in California: "with some changes in reservoir management, existing large reservoirs on most of California’s rivers can largely accommodate seasonal shifts in runoff." And, an important detail for those wringing their hands over California's warming climate: precipitation and other unknowns are probably more important to monitor than temperature.
Change in total precipitation is more important than warming alone. The physical, economic and ecological instability of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta probably poses more risk to California’s water supply than climate warming.
Next weekend I expect to be heading up to the California Water Law Symposium at UC Davis, where I'm sure I'll hear more wisdom from Professor Lund's corner.

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