Virtually all of California faces the prospect of serious water shortages by mid-century due to climate change, the National Resources Defense Council declared today in a national report on water supply.
The NRDC report, prepared by Tetra Tech, says that water shortages loom for more than 1,100 counties, a third of all those in the 48 adjacent states. California is one of 14 states that face extreme or high risk of water shortages.
Dan Lashof, director of the NRDC climate center, said, "This analysis shows climate change will take a serious toll on water supplies throughout the country in the coming decades, with over one out of three U.S. counties facing greater risks of water shortages. Water shortages can strangle economic development and agricultural production and affected communities. As a result, cities and states will bear real and significant costs if Congress fails to take the steps necessary to slow down and reverse the warming trend."
A new state water plan, enacted last year, is aimed in part at offsetting changes in water supply from climate change, but the centerpiece of the plan, an $11.1 billion bond issue, may be removed from the November ballot. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and legislative leaders are concerned that it may be rejected due to significant opposition, especially from environmental groups, and voter angst as the state's recession continues.
The full NRDC report, which includes access to a map of California counties at risk, may be found here.
PHOTO CREDIT: Dust billows as a farmer plows a dry field April 16, 2009, near Buttonwillow. (Photo by David McNew/ Getty Images)