Patrick Reed is a water management expert, professor of civil and environmental engineering at Cornell University, and has served on numerous councils and committees regarding groundwater resources and sustainable water management solutions. He comments on the current drought in California.
“California does have a wide variety of management options for dealing with severe droughts, ranging from traditional water use restrictions to more elaborate water transfer schemes. For example, shifting water from agriculture to urban water supply.
“The current drought does appear to be historically significant and the reduced snowpack may really make the consequences much worse. California uses mountain snow like a reservoir to store water for the summer. If they do not get significant snow, the drought impacts could be really severe across all water use sectors. This could have major economic ramifications.
“Although it is obvious that droughts cause water shortages, a key aspect to watch with respect to the California drought will be its financial impacts on cities and major water users such as agriculture or the energy sector. Even when a city successfully meets its water demands during a drought, they can still be exposed to significant risk of financial failures.”
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