California’s three-year drought from 2007 to 2009 had far-reaching impacts that were highly publicized, but not well understood. Although media coverage of drought impacts focused on the agricultural sector, there were substantial consequences for aquatic ecosystems and hydropower production. This report examines the effects of the drought on agricultural production, energy production, and ecosystem health, and provides suggestions for mitigation strategies that are preventative, long-term, and sustainable.
There is broad recognition that adapting to climate change, coupled with the need to address aging infrastructure, population growth, and degraded ecosystems, will require rethinking programs and policies and investing in our natural and built water systems.
This is the latest in our What Happens Next series. The increasing scarcity of drinking water is beginning to capture the world's attention -- but surprisingly, an innovative solution might just be found in one of the Earth's driest places.
Stormwater has traditionally been managed to mitigate flooding and protect water quality. However, its potential as a local water supply has gained recent attention in water-stressed areas. As climate change increases the risk of both floods and droughts in California, urban stormwater capture also offers a significant opportunity to enhance community resilience.