With a warming climate and changing weather patterns, it might be time to update the federal reservoir-level rules that dictate how much water can be kept in some western U.S. reservoirs during winter.
As more winter precipitation is falling as rain instead of snow, it’s changing how much water flows into reservoirs. It turns out it might be changing how much water trees can drink, too.
A project to restore a damaged meadow in the Sierra Nevada shows the possibilities for improving an important mountain ecosystem. It can also store precious groundwater as climate change shrinks mountain snowpack, a vital source of fresh water in the American West.
As wintertime temperatures warm in the Sierra Nevada, precipitation shifts from snow to rain. That means snowpack is shrinking — and changing the entire foundation for people’s water supply across the American West.