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DWR releases climate change white paper

The California Department of Water Resources (DWR) released a report urging California’s water managers to develop climate adaptation strategies.

The report, Managing an Uncertain Future: Climate Change Adaptation Strategies for California’s Water, details how climate change is already affecting the state’s water supplies and sets forth a number of recommendations to help avoid or reduce climate change impacts to water resources.

Disturbing trends over the last half century suggest California faces a shrinking snowmelt, increased flooding, longer droughts and a rise in sea level.

The report proposes 10 adaptation strategies in four categories. Chief among those recommendations is that California must develop a sustained investment strategy to reliably finance the state’s water future.

The report also suggests that regional and local entities implement a diverse portfolio of water management techniques to better address uncertainties of changing water patterns. This management approach, known as Integrated Regional Water Management (IRWM), is already in place throughout the state and a key part of Gov. Schwarzenegger’s vision for California’s water future. IRWM will become the core strategy in water planning to adapt to the challenges posed by climate change.

The report strongly suggests that statewide water management systems also adapt as the climate changes. Strategies include coordination of land use, watersheds, reservoirs, floodplains and aquifers to protect public safety, preserve water quality and supply and provide for the ecosystem. California must expand research of climate change and its impact on water and the environment as well.

DWR’s report is the latest in the administration's efforts to address climate change and will feed into the state’s overall climate adaptation strategy. The report follows on the heels of the Air Resources Board’s Proposed Scoping Plan, which contains water efficiency and conservation measures and is designed to mitigate climate change impacts by reducing California's greenhouse gas emissions by 30 percent by 2020.

To view the full text of Managing an Uncertain Future; Climate Change Adaptation Strategies for California’s Water, visit

The public will have the opportunity to discuss the report in detail at the Climate Change Adaptation Summit hosted by DWR and the Water Education Foundation Nov. 13-14 in Long Beach, Calif.

To learn more about the summit or to register, visit

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