How California Water Supply Could Survive Warming, Growth

Jun 15, 2006

In a new report, the UC Davis authors of the most sophisticated analysis of California's water management system say the system should be able to adapt to a warmer climate and a larger population, albeit at a significant cost.

For its latest evaluation, the UC Davis team led by engineering professors Jay Lund and Richard Howitt employed its computer model, CALVIN (for California Value Integrated Network). The model analyzes state water supply and delivery systems, and projects impacts of changes in the systems, such as a prolonged drought, levee breaks in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta or the removal of Hetch Hetchy Reservoir. It is the only statewide model of all major water system components.

This time, the team used CALVIN to evaluate climate-change scenarios with varying precipitation, snowmelt timing and water demands by agricultural and urban users.

"This is the first statewide climate change analysis for water supply that examines both the effects of climate warming and population growth, since these effects are likely to happen together," said Lund. "We often think of complex systems as being fragile. However, if California's water supply system is well managed, it can accommodate unusually severe climate and population changes, albeit with some significant costs."

The researchers found that population growth alone (to 92 million by 2100) would increase statewide supply system costs about $60 per year per household by 2100. Adding the predicted impact of climate change would raise that cost to $140.

The report suggests that water system managers could adapt to these major changes by changing reservoir and groundwater operations, water allocations (including water markets), water-use efficiency and wastewater reuse. If those strategies were employed, the state would not need major new surface-water reservoirs for water supply.

The paper, "Climate Warming and Water Management Adaptation for California," was published online on June 10, 2006, by the journal Climatic Change.

Source: UC Davis

Explore further: How might climate change affect our food supply?

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Designer potatoes on the menu to boost consumption

52 minutes ago

A decline in overall potato consumption has Texas A&M AgriLife Research breeders working on "designer" spuds that meet the time constraints and unique tastes of a younger generation.

Giant crater in Russia's far north sparks mystery

1 hour ago

A vast crater discovered in a remote region of Siberia known to locals as "the end of the world" is causing a sensation in Russia, with a group of scientists being sent to investigate.

NASA Mars spacecraft prepare for close comet flyby

1 hour ago

NASA is taking steps to protect its Mars orbiters, while preserving opportunities to gather valuable scientific data, as Comet C/2013 A1 Siding Spring heads toward a close flyby of Mars on Oct. 19.

Giant anteaters kill two hunters in Brazil

1 hour ago

Giant anteaters in Brazil have killed two hunters in separate incidents, raising concerns about the animals' loss of habitat and the growing risk of dangerous encounters with people, researchers said.

US plans widespread seismic testing of sea floor

1 hour ago

(AP)—The U.S. government is planning to use sound blasting to conduct research on the ocean floor along most of the East Coast, using technology similar to that which led to a court battle by environmentalists in New Jersey.

Recommended for you

How might climate change affect our food supply?

45 minutes ago

It's no easy question to answer, but prudence demands that we try. Thus, Microsoft and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) have teamed up to tackle "food resilience," one of several themes ...

Groundwater is safe in potential N.Y. fracking area

1 hour ago

Two Cornell hydrologists have completed a thorough groundwater examination of drinking water in a potential hydraulic fracturing area in New York's Southern Tier. They determined that drinking water in potable ...

Underwater elephants

17 hours ago

In the high-tech world of science, researchers sometimes need to get back to basics. UC Santa Barbara's Douglas McCauley did just that to study the impacts of the bumphead parrotfish (Bolbometopon muricatum) on cor ...

User comments : 0