Study: Farms, hydropower at risk in West's changing climate

AP News
Posted: Mar 22, 2016 4:19 PM

DENVER (AP) — The federal government says climate change could upset the complex interplay of rain, snow and temperature in the West, potentially hurting food production, the environment and hydroelectric power.

A U.S. Bureau of Reclamation report released Tuesday says some areas could get less snow and more rain, which would reduce the amount of water in reservoirs when farmers need it to irrigate.

The report says reservoirs could lose more water to evaporation because of high temperatures, particularly in California.

And hotter summers could mean more demand for hydroelectric power in the summer, but reservoirs may have less water to run their generators then because of changes in precipitation patterns.

The report looked at eight rivers from Washington state to Texas, including the Columbia, the Sacramento and San Juan and the Colorado.