LETTER: Adapting to climate change means water management

There is an obvious adaptation to climate change we need to have started “yesterday.”

There is an obvious adaptation to climate change we need to have started “yesterday.” Aside from comments about 38 degrees in May of this record-breaking 2015 and the need to put a war effort equivalent effort into slowing down global warming (the World Meteorological Association announced in 2012 that for the previous decade we had already been experiencing 200-year events every 10 years), the most obvious critical adaptation we need to make is to store water uphill during the rainy season in each watershed.

We thus would have a chance to respond to the kind of extreme “organized crown” fires (which skip fire breaks) that are occurring if we had these widespread reservoirs and also to deal with the other implications of drought.

Ideally water licensees (and municipalities) would get together with support from downstream power generators, government and endowments like the Columbia Basin Trust (in our region) for soft costs (design costs for: hydrology/engineering, including assessing rain event flood/landslide risks,in planning these reservoirs, and also organizational development expertise to help watershed licensees organize themselves to manage these).

We would then be able to have water at high pressure and volume to douse vulnerable public and private infrastructure as well as have water for domestic use, agriculture, to maintain streamflows as habitat and presumably this would also benefit downstream power generators during the high value season for their power as there would tend to be more preserved streamflows.

Andre C. Piver, MD, Procter

 

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