Water isn’t only an issue for those who have long depended on glacier melt [see below] or those who live in tidal wetlands like Bangla Desh. Even in the comparatively lush Bay Area, with Sierra snow and heavily capitalized water systems, weather changes will mean life changes.

“All the research around the impact of climate change in California shows potential prolonged droughts, drier winters, more wild swings between drier years and wet years,” said Tony Winnicker, spokesman for the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, which provides water to residents of the city as well as communities on the Peninsula. “As water agencies and as consumers, we need to manage our water more wisely. There will never again be a period in California where we don’t have to think about water conservation.”

… Unless rains soak the Bay Area in the next several weeks, the district expects to have about 425,000 acre-feet of water by early fall – 175,000 acre-feet below its optimal 600,000 acre-feet. The board will vote on whether to impose rationing May 13. One acre-foot is the amount of water it would take to flood an acre to a level of one foot. One acre-foot of water equals about 325,000 gallons, which can supply a household of four for one year.

Planning for Drought