Click on Any Past Events to See Powerpoints and Videos
October 25, 2016: Local Water Managers Discuss: The Future of Water in Southern CA
Paul A. Cook
General Manager of the Irvine Ranch Water District
System and Resource Analysis Unit Manager
Water Resource Management Group
The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California
General Manager of the Municipal Water District of Orange County
Michael R. Markus, P.E., D.WRE, BCEE, F.ASCE
General Manager, Orange County Water District
May 11, 2016: Some Wider Perspectives on the Current California Drought
Presentation by Glen MacDonald – New Director of the UCLA Inst. of the Environment
The 2011-Present drought has demonstrated California’s vulnerabilities in current water resource infrastructure to cope with long-term aridity such as experienced over the past 5 years. Not only has surface water infrastructure been insufficient, but the limitations of shifting to the consumption of more groundwater, particularly in the Central Valley, has been shown to be a poor strategy going forward into the 21st century. Analysis of instrumental and paleo hydroclimatic records indicates that the precipitation deficit of this drought is not exceptional, but the coupling of the deficit with extraordinarily high temperatures makes this drought exceptional in terms of integrated measures such a Palmer Drought Severity. The southern portion of the state has been particularly impacted. The current drought bears the fingerprint of anthropogenic climate change and is likely a harbinger of California hydroclimatology of the 21st century. Although policy and infrastructure remedies might allow adaptation in terms of consumptive water demands, remote sensing analysis of vegetation response, shows strong decreases in greenness in the southern portions of the state and along the western flanks of the Sierra Nevada. This conveys the reality that although impacts on consumptive use may be mitigated by infrastructure and policy, there is little that can be done to mitigate the long term impacts of a more arid climate on California’s wildland ecosystems.
No powerpoint available.
Presentation by Kathy Jacobs, Center for Climate Adaptation Science and Solutions, University of Arizona
Adaptation is iterative – and involves ongoing evaluation of risk, identification of current and anticipated impacts and vulnerabilities, and responses to changes in fundamental scientific understanding and associated uncertainties. The Third US National Climate Assessment was explicitly designed to support adaptation decisions and included an array of different strategies to encourage participation and engagement. Further, a sustained process for assessing climate related risks through iterative processes was initiated by the NCA3 participants. This talk included a summary of the NCA findings and a discussion of approaches to adaptation in the water sector.
Presentation by Dr. Daniel Cayan, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California San Diego and U.S. Geological Survey
Historically, mountain snowpack has provided a crucially important fraction of California’s water supply, but with projected climate warming in future decades, it is likely that the snow pack will diminish. Snow pack has varied considerably between years, mostly in response to fluctuations in the seasonal accumulation of precipitation, while it has only incrementally affected by seasonal variations in temperature. In the future, however, the affect of temperature will likely play a larger role. An ensemble of downscaled global climate model (GCM) simulations under two emissions scenarios exhibits+1°C to more than +3°C warming by 2100 over the California snow region, which, on average, greatly exceeds historical temperature deviations. Precipitation over the region retains a healthy level of interannual variation, but shows little trend. Using VIC hydrological model simulations from the climate model projections, precipitation fluctuations continue to contribute strongly to the year-to-year variation in snow pack, but the temperature influence in diminishing spring snowpack increases markedly in future decades. The talk described the diminishing odds of achieving spring snow water volume that meets or exceeds median historical levels, and the increasing likelihood of extremely low snow water amounts.
Presentation by Felicia Marcus, Chair of the California State Water Resources Control Board
Ms. Marcus discussed California water system history and features, identify challenges faced during this drought and in the face of climate change, and suggest what the state, local agencies, and communities need to do to create a more sustainable water future for California.
Presentation by Dr. Ariel Dinar, Professor of Environmental Economics and Policy, UC Riverside
California’s prolonged drought has impacts on the state’s economy and quality of life, which calls for serious water policy reform. But California’s problem is not unique and there are lessons to be learned from countries around the globe that have faced and successfully addressed similar circumstances.
This talk provided background information on the water sector in Israel and how water reforms have changed the water balance in the state. Located in the middle-east’s most water scarce region, the State of Israel has been one of the most water-scarce countries in the world. Several recurring drought events in the past 20 years pushed the country’s water reserves to dangerously low levels. In 2000, after one of the worst drought periods in its history, the State of Israel undertook a multi-dimensional reform of its water sector. The reform included a public campaign, institutional reform of water supply and services, technological investments, seawater desalination, wastewater treatments and reuse, water pricing for conservation, and several additional reforms that helped the nation move past its water crisis.
March 3, 2015 – Coping with Water Scarcity – Recent Developments in Residential Demand Management
Presentation by Dr. Ken Baerenklau, Associate Professor of Environmental Economics & Policy, UC Riverside
Consistent with historical trends, California saw its driest year on record in 2013 and its warmest year in 2014. Water agencies across the state have been mandated to significantly reduce per-capita water use or else lose their eligibility for state grants and loans.
To help achieve these goals, researchers at UC Riverside’s School of Public Policy have partnered with local water agencies in an effort to evaluate the effectiveness of ongoing residential water conservation programs.
The long-term sustainability of many large cities may hinge on how well they manage urban water demand. Over the past 74 years, water demand in Melbourne (Australia) transitioned between two states: one in which demand scaled linearly with reservoir storage, and another in which demand was constant. Transition between states occurs when extreme events (major droughts and significant infrastructure upgrades) cause reservoir storage to rise above or fall below 200 to 300 kL person-1. These insights provide a theoretical framework for long-term projections of urban water demand and hint at strategies cities can adopt to mitigate freshwater scarcity.
The challenges of the 21st Century include extreme drought, temperature increase, an unsustainable Sacramento/ San Joaquin River Delta, an oversubscribed Colorado River, and the fastest growing watershed in California. This talk explored what water resource management strategies will support quality of life, a robust economy, and a resilient ecosystem.[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]