A reminder that Northern California’s water problems and the Colorado Basin’s are linked, in this new paper by Paul Miller and Thomas Piechota on snowpack around the West. Miller and Piechota focus primarily on Colorado Basin snowpack (which as we know is declining) but note the relevance of the Sierra Nevada as well:
Decreasing snowpack is prevalent over the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range, which suggests additional strain on California’s water resources. Although the Sierra Nevada Mountains are located outside of the Colorado River Basin, changes to California’s water supply system from any source will impact Colorado River usage in the southern portion of the state. For instance, as the availability of water resources for the state decreases, it is less likely that California will have the flexibility to participate in Reclamation sponsored conservation programs which allow for states to store water resources in Lake Mead, to the benefit of the Colorado River System.
This echoes a theme I’ve touched on a couple of times of late: