Assessing Climate Change Impacts
It will be interesting to see how 2016 shapes up water-wise since we have been getting a fair amount of moisture but people like Dr. Jennifer Adam with the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at WSU have been doing a lot of research to see how climate change has been impacting water resources and ultimately agriculture. She talks about on-going water uses.
ADAM: For water there's in-stream and out of stream uses. In-stream hydropower, flood control, fish flows, navigation and recreation. Out of stream, the largest out of stream consumptive user is agriculture but there's also municipal and industrial. There's intensifying issues in the Columbia so we have fish and habitat we have to think about, there's tribal considerations, there's renewable energy needs.
And as we've noticed, the Columbia region has been experiencing change.
ADAM: Both with water quantity and quality, both in the past and looking into the future. We have population growth, we have the needs for more of these resources being exploited, we have more invasive species, fire risk and things like that so it's a system that is changing quite rapidly.
Typically we depend on snow melt for the bulk of our water.
ADAM: But as we have warming temperatures, we're moving away from that snow-melt dominant system so it's called a transitional or rain and snow-melt dominant system, we have a two-peak system and we're looking at decline then in summer water availability and then with a lot of warming we're getting more and more into the rain dominated systems where you have a peak in the winter-time when it's raining.
That's today's Fruit Grower Report. I'm Greg Martin on the Ag Information Network of the West.