Study: Climate Change Poses Risk to Water Supply, Economy

A new study commissioned by The San Diego Foundation examines how climate change affects the region’s water resilience, and, by extension, the regional economy.

The report, by the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, warns of increased chance of both drought and flood conditions in the years ahead.

“Water is the lifeblood of any regional economy,” the report states. “The businesses that make up our region’s three major industries – tourism, innovation, and the military – as well as the local businesses that make up the other half of our $200+ billion regional economy, all rely on clean and stable water supplies.”

Titled “A Parched Future Poses New Risks,” the study asserts that our region’s primary water sources – the Colorado River and the State Water Project – are likely to be impacted by climate change. Rising temperatures and persistent drought are expected to reduce the Sierra Nevada snowpack and river flow.

The study predicts fewer rainy days on average; but when it does rain, those storms will be larger and increase the flood risk.

Jason Roe