Climate Change Study
6:23 am
Thu September 26, 2013

Dams Help The NW Cope With Climate Change

A new study suggests Columbia River dams are helping the Northwest cope with climate change.

The dams give water managers the ability to hold water in reservoirs so it is available when farmers and migrating salmon need it the most.
Credit Doug Wertman

Scientists say one result of rising average temperatures is that water from snowmelt is flowing earlier into rivers. That could mean lower flows during summer and fall, when the water is needed for fish and crop irrigation. But the new study says Columbia River Basin dams are helping offset those shifts. Julia Jones from Oregon State University co-authored the report. She says the dams give water managers the ability to hold water in reservoirs so it is available when farmers and migrating salmon need it the most. That's one reason water scarcity has not been a problem in the Columbia Basin the way it has in places like the Klamath basin of southern Oregon and northern California. The study was published in the Canadian journal Atmosphere-Ocean.

Copyright 2013 Oregon Public Broadcasting

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