Got a couple of good publications today - a twofer, not a trifecta
1) Water Transfers in the West
Here is the Executive Summary:
Scarcity is the defining characteristic of water in the western United States. Freshwater is naturally limited to precipitation, runoff and aquifer storage. Climate variability and extreme weather events — especially drought — increase uncertainty across timescales, from days to decades. And yet demands for water continue to grow, along with the population and economy of the West. As cities, industry, energy developers and other users seek new secure water supplies, they increasingly turn to voluntary water transfers.
Water transfers are occurring throughout the West (Figure 1), and they will become increasingly important as new demands stress limited supplies. The goal of this report is to suggest ways to make water transfers more efficient and equitable, while not promoting or opposing individual transfer proposals. This report examines water transfer practices across the western states, highlighting successful models, analyzing case studies, and identifying leading practices. The goal is to share lessons and tools and to identify specific steps that states can consider in order to improve water transfer outcomes.
Thanks to Jan Schoonmaker for sending this my way.
You can download a free PDF or purchase a copy at this site.
Scientific evidence shows that most glaciers in South Asia's Hindu Kush Himalayan region are retreating, but the consequences for the region's water supply are unclear, this report finds. The Hindu Kush Himalayan region is the location of several of Asia's great river systems, which provide water for drinking, irrigation, and other uses for about 1.5 billion people. Recent studies show that at lower elevations, glacial retreat is unlikely to cause significant changes in water availability over the next several decades, but other factors, including groundwater depletion and increasing human water use, could have a greater impact. Higher elevation areas could experience altered water flow in some river basins if current rates of glacial retreat continue, but shifts in the location, intensity, and variability of rain and snow due to climate change will likely have a greater impact on regional water supplies.
Himalayan Glaciers: Climate Change, Water Resources, and Water Security makes recommendations and sets guidelines for the future of climate change and water security in the Himalayan Region. This report emphasizes that social changes, such as changing patterns of water use and water management decisions, are likely to have at least as much of an impact on water demand as environmental factors do on water supply. Water scarcity will likely affect the rural and urban poor most severely, as these groups have the least capacity to move to new locations as needed. It is predicted that the region will become increasingly urbanized as cities expand to absorb migrants in search of economic opportunities. As living standards and populations rise, water use will likely increase-for example, as more people have diets rich in meat, more water will be needed for agricultural use. The effects of future climate change could further exacerbate water stress.
Himalayan Glaciers: Climate Change, Water Resources, and Water Security explains that changes in the availability of water resources could play an increasing role in political tensions, especially if existing water management institutions do not better account for the social, economic, and ecological complexities of the region. To effectively respond to the effects of climate change, water management systems will need to take into account the social, economic, and ecological complexities of the region. This means it will be important to expand research and monitoring programs to gather more detailed, consistent, and accurate data on demographics, water supply, demand, and scarcity.
“The future is not a result of choices among alternative paths offered by the present, but a place that is created--created first in the mind and will, created next in activity. The future is not some place we are going to, but one we are creating. The paths are not to be found, but made, and the activity of making them, changes both the maker and the destination.” - John Schaar