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Climate Change Consequences to California’s Water Storage

Associated Press

SACRAMENTO – California water officials should factor in the projected consequences of climate change when assessing the state’s water supplies, according to legislation introduced this week by Assemblywoman Lois Wolk, D-Davis.

“It is critical that we begin adapting our water storage and conveyance systems now because all evidence indicates these systems will be unable to support the state’s water supply in the not-so-distant future,” Wolk said in a statement.

Climate scenarios project California’s average temperature could rise between 3 to 10 degrees Fahrenheit by the end of the century.

Scientists believe the warmer weather will lead to more rain than snow in the Sierra Nevada, the 400-mile-long range that stores much of the state’s water supply. Those conditions could lead to spring flooding and summer drought.

Wolk’s legislation comes nearly a week after Democrats in the state Senate introduced a series of water-related bills.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has proposed $4.5 billion to build two new reservoirs as a way to manage flooding and store more water for the summer months.

Democrats have said the state should cope with climate change by boosting conservation, increasing groundwater storage and raising the height of existing dams.

Wolk’s legislation would require the state Department of Water Resources to include climate change in the state water plan, urban water management plans and the water-quality plans developed by state and regional water boards.

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Read the bill AB 224 at http://www.assembly.ca.gov