A hotter, drier
Climate change is altering the landscape of California. Longer, hotter dry periods and sporadic rainfall are intensifying the existing water management challenges confronting our state. 2022 is shaping up to be one of the driest years in California’s history, creating supply challenges for local water systems across the state.
California’s systems of aqueducts and reservoirs were built decades ago to serve less than half as many residents as we have today. These systems were largely based on delivering water coming in from our snowpack in the Sierra Nevada. But today, how, when and where California receives precipitation is changing drastically.
More than half of the rain and snow we receive is lost to evaporation due to our hotter and drier climate.
Increasingly severe boom-and-bust precipitation cycles require a different approach to how and when we capture and store water.
Less snow is falling and what we do get is melting faster, making it more difficult to capture and store for the dry summer and fall months.
California’s Sierra Nevada snowpack is predicted to decline by 25-40% by 2050, thereby significantly reducing what has historically been the state’s most reliable water source to capture and store.
We are in a race against effects of climate change. As drought conditions intensify, water supplies will become even more limited. Without action, industries that need water to operate – including agriculture, health care, technology and manufacturing – will be impacted. Without action, limited resources will increase costs of food, water and household goods.
We must continue to modernize and invest in our water infrastructure to adapt to California’s changing climate and growing population.
Stay informed about the water infrastructure projects happening in your community.
© Association of California Water Agencies.