Govt. Study Affirms Delta Fears, Water Risks for California

Suisun Slough in the lower Sacramento Delta. Twenty-five million Californians depend on the Delta for at least some of their water.

“Today’s extremes could become tomorrow’s norms”

That’s the upshot of an ambitious study by the US Geological Survey, which would appear to affirm some dire predictions for California’s most important water system.

The study, authored by nearly a dozen scientists, is billed as “the first integrated assessment of how the Bay-Delta system will respond to climate change.” It’s presented as a “flash forward” to what California’s Sacramento-SanJoaquin Delta could become by the end of this century. It ran a series of nine indicators through multiple models to project trends in temperature, precipitation, salinity, runoff and sea level rise.

The result: Pretty much what climate scientists have been saying; that we’ll see “potentially longer dry seasons,” a shrinking Sierra snow pack and “earlier snowmelt leaving less water for runoff in the summer.” Continue reading