In this Issue...
Western Water looks at climate change through the lens of some of the latest scientifi c research and responses from experts regarding mitigation and adaptation.
The Evolution of Climate Change Fifteen years ago the topic of climate change fi rst was discussed in this magazine. At that time, I wrote that chief writer Sue McClurg and I recently had heard a number of intriguing presentations about climate change and it seemed to us as laypersons
Studies from an array of respected institutions all point to a warmer and drier West.
On the Cover Credits
Rita Schmidt Sudman Sue McClurg
Writer Gary Pitzer
Editorial Assistance Robin Douglas Diana Farmer
Design & Layout Graphic Communications Photos
Kenneth & Gabrielle Adelman of the California Coastal Records Project California Department of Water Resources Sterling Davis
Henry Regis, CoCoRaHS Water Education Foundation
Find bios of our board members, www.watereducation.org
The Water Education Foundation thanks all the sources and experts who reviewed this magazine for balance and accuracy.
The mission of the Water Education Foundation, an impartial, nonprofi t organization, is to create a better understanding of water resources and foster public understanding and resolution of water resource issues through facilitation, education and outreach.
Western Water is published by the Water Education Foundation, 717 K Street, Suite 317, Sacramento, CA 95814 (916) 444-6240, fax (916) 448-7699. An annual subscription to this bi-monthly magazine is $65. The balance of the Foundation’s information program may be supported by larger amounts, which are tax deductible. Printed on recycled paper with soy-based ink.
Web page: www.watereducation.org
President: William R. Mills
Executive Director: Rita Schmidt Sudman © 2013 Water Education Foundation
2 Western Water
that the majority of scientists were beginning to agree that something about the climate was changing. They just couldn’t agree on what or exactly why. From reviewing that 1998 magazine, I see now that the climate change debate was starting to heat up. Then there was genuine debate about a future in California in which droughts and fl oods could be more severe with warm rain, instead of snow, arriving at the wrong time and levees in the Delta being overcome by rising sea levels. Or, then again, maybe none of that would happen said many experts in the engineering and water community who were skeptical of what was termed “global warming.” But all agreed more fl exibility in water management and planning was needed system wide. We were interested enough in the topic to put on our fi rst climate change conference a few years later in 2003. It was not successful – if you judged from the amount of people attending. In the fall of 2006 we again devoted an issue of Western Water to the topic titled, “An Inconvenient Future: Assessing the Impact of Climate Change.” The Department of Water Resources (DWR) recently had found growing evi- dence that water resources in California would be signifi cantly affected by climate change and said so in the 2005 California Water Plan Update. In 2009 we worked with DWR to produce an exciting documentary, A Climate of Change. You can view part of that video in the digital version of this magazine. Fast forward to this
launched on June 24: • 4,450 people have visited the site • About 20,000 pages have been viewed
The most popular pages are • Groundwater • Historical water people • Directory of Water Interests • Master Map • Water Treatment • Fracking
issue of Western Water and we see that now almost the entire scientifi c com-
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munity is certain that climate change is real. The “why” part of the argument is no longer important and the reality of the existence of climate change is recognized. Now the planning challenge is upon us. As we learn in this magazine, adapting to warming temperatures and increased demand means turning to water recycling, conservation, ground and surface water storage and consideration of desalination as options. One thing is certain; we humans in the Southwest have long adapted to climate variations and have in the past lived with environmental challenges. Perhaps we can learn to manage our water to help us live with the very real fact of climate change. ❖
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