Farmers need water for crops and cattle. City-dwellers want water for yards, gardens and kiddie pools. Salmon need streams with enough cold, clear water to enable them to spawn and survive for another generation. And the two Native American nations have treaty-guaranteed fishing rights and are determined to see that the fish don’t get shortchanged.
To make matters worse, summer water supply is likely to go down in the years ahead, while demand increases. Specifically:
- Various environmental factors that affect Whatcom County summer supply – streamflows, water temperatures, air temperatures, and rainfall – are all trending in negative directions. That is, the historical record shows slow, small, erratic declines in supply.
- Less rainfall and higher air temperatures combined with population growth suggest increases in human water uses during the summer, especially for irrigation. .
- Simple projections of the historical record over the next 20 years show that these trends will likely get worse for both people and the environment.
- The state Dept. of Ecology and/or Whatcom County should develop and apply methods to estimate future water supplies and consumption over the next few decades.
Read Eric’s full scenario on our future county water situation in this pdf file.