October 4, 2011
In a partnership with the California Department of Water Resources (DWR), the Aquarium of the Pacific will open an exhibit on October 24 that draws connections between climate change and California’s water management system. The exhibit will be on display through September 3, 2012.
The exhibit—developed and funded by DWR—illustrates how California’s landscape, climate, and water features have changed over millions of years of geologic time. This information is then translated into predictions for the future of California’s water supply. “California’s Changing Water tells an important story about how climate change is adding to California’s water crisis, and continues the vital work of informing our visitors on this topic, an effort that was begun with the Aquarium’s Our Watersheds: Pathway to the Pacific exhibit, which opened in 2008,” said Barbara Long, the Aquarium’s vice president of government relations and special projects.
Examples of past natural variability in climate and water in California are compared with projections for human-induced climate change due to emissions of greenhouse gases in this century. California’s water infrastructure is not designed to perform under severe droughts that were experienced prior to our historical record or under expected end-of-century conditions of reduced Sierra Nevada snowpack, according to DWR.
The exhibit details the state’s current water management system, as well as what climate and weather trends impact that system. Extreme events, like droughts and flooding, are described as are long-term trends to plan for, such as sea level rise. Visitors will leave with ideas for how to conserve water in their homes to help California prepare for drier conditions.
“Our response to climate change today will have a powerful impact on all of California’s natural resources—particularly water—for generations to come. We must work diligently to balance protecting our environment, ensuring our future prosperity, and planning for a growing population with the reality of a changing climate. An abundant, reliable water supply is a key part of that balancing act,” said John Laird, California’s Secretary for Natural Resources.