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California’s water supplies are in trouble as climate change worsens natural dry spells, especially in the Sierra Nevada

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California is preparing for a third straight year of drought, and officials are tightening limits on water use to levels never seen so early in the water year. Most of the state’s water reservoirs are well below average , with several at less than a third of their capacity. The outlook for rain and snow this winter , when most of the state’s yearly precipitation arrives, isn’t promising.

Especially worrying is the outlook for the Sierra Nevada, the long mountain chain that runs through the eastern part of the state. California’s cities and its farms – which grow over a third of the nation’s vegetables and two-thirds of its fruit and nuts – rely on runoff from the mountains’ snowpack for water.

As an engineer , I have studied California’s water and climate for over 30 years. A closer look at California’s water resources shows the challenge ahead and how climate change is putting the state’s water supply and agriculture at greater risk. Where California gets its water

Statewide, California averages about 2 feet of precipitation per year, about two-thirds of the global average, giving the state as a whole a semi-arid climate.

The majority of California’s rain and snow falls in […]

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