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Water Specialist: Dwindling Supply Means Lifestyle Changes Ahead


Aired 4/19/09

One water specialist says the future water supply for our region doesn't look promising. That's because climate change models suggest that key supply sources will provide less water ten years from now. KPBS reporter Ed Joyce has more.

Research at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography shows the Colorado River system is on the verge of being unstable. Another key supply source for San Diego -- the Sacramento River Delta -- is also in trouble.

Mike Dettinger is a U.S. Geological Survey hydrologist based at Scripps. He says shifts toward an earlier spring and more rain than snow means we'll have to make changes in how we use water.

Dettinger : These aren’t changes to get us through this year and hope that next year is wet. These are changes that we would have to dedicate ourselves to for the long haul.

Dettinger says building new reservoirs and fixing Delta levies takes time and the future is here now.

Dettinger : It takes 10, 15, 20 years to get structures into place to do those things so this is coming quickly.

He says conservation measures can help, but conservation alone won't add new water if climate change predictions become reality.

Ed Joyce, KPBS News.

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