The front page article on April 2, entitled "Western Rivers Face Pinch," talks about water and drought in the southwest, and doesn't even mention climate change.
David Gensler, Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District water manager, says as if reducing snowpack and runoff were the luck of the draw: “We continue to face loss of hands from a hydrological point of view. We played them for all they were worth, but we keep drawing bad cards, ”he said.
It is highly irresponsible for a professional water manager to omit the fact that these reductions are due to climate change rather than random ups and downs. A water manager (and any responsible journalist – Susan Montoya Bryan) needs to keep up with the studies that affect their profession. Projections for future snowpack and runoff assume that they will continue to decline in the near future, as has been the case for at least two decades.
In addition to being aware of these studies, a professional water manager and journalist should be responsible for ensuring that water users know that there will be even less water in the years to come. Ranchers, farmers, cities, car wash owners, wildlife managers, and all of the rest of us need to know what to expect. We need to know that we can expect less surface water in the years to come. We all need to plan to reduce the decrease in snow cover and runoff caused by climate change.
Runoff is also not just a function of precipitation and snow cover. While future rainfall can be harder to predict, we know for sure that temperatures will continue to rise. Higher temperatures mean more evaporation. More evaporation means that no matter how much rainfall we receive each year, less of it is available for plant growth and runoff.
There is nothing accidental about this. We know what climate change will do and we need to plan for it. It's basic physics people!