Thursday June 27, 2024


Researchers at the Desert Research Institute found many farming communities in the West may see the amount of water they’ve been able to store in reservoirs cut in half by the end of the century. That’s because climate change is shriveling snowpacks and altering snowmelt patterns that farmers and ranchers rely on for irrigation.

What’s more, expanding reservoir capacity to make up for water shortages will be difficult in a warming future with less snow, said Beatrice Gordon, the study’s lead author.

“Reservoirs are agriculture’s big savings account, and so climate change is draining the savings account,” she said. “And so, I think what agriculture is sort of facing in this is how to sustain their lifestyle and continue to grow crops?”

Gordon’s team examined decades of data related to water supply and demand for more than a dozen farming communities and projected what those levels could look like in the coming decades.

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