Tuesday, October 27, 2009

California water officials talk about impact of climate change on groundwater supplies

Ramona Turner in the Santa Cruz Sentinel: Conservation and adaptation are the two ways people can help ease the impact of global warming on our water supply. That's the topic Bruce Daniels, director of the Soquel Creek Water District, is studying as he researches the impact of climate change on groundwater recharge in Santa Cruz County, Santa Rosa, Minnesota and the Tahoe area.

"It's a lot of work," Daniels, who has been working toward a doctorate in hydroclimatology at UC Santa Cruz since the spring quarter. "The reason I'm doing this is because I like to know that I'm making a difference. The challenge is to go out and help water districts understand the impacts and what they can do to help the situation."

Later this month, water officials will gather to discuss this subject at the County Government Center. In Santa Cruz County, the wet months of the year are December through March. But as the Earth warms, the rainy months will decrease from four to two, Daniels said. And the rain that does fall will come from strong storms that produce a lot of precipitation.

"Tuesday was a great analogue to that," he said of last week's strong storm. "We received 4 inches of rain. Normal for October is less than half an inch. That's the prediction for the future -- bigger storms, more flooding and erosion." The bigger the storm, the more runoff there is and the less water that soaks into the ground and recharges the aquifer that provides some of the county with water for drinking and bathing, Daniels said. "This will have a large impact," …

This photo of Santa Cruz, California shows the Old Town Center, showing the Octagonal Brick Hall of Records (built 1882) and the classical revival County Court House (built 1894)

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