Climatologists say that in Canada global warming is developing faster than in many other parts of the world. What does the future hold for British Columbia?
This province has abundant precipitation. Even if it decreased markedly, the water required for human consumption would still be a small part of the total. The main drawback is that the supply is seasonal.
Wells produce about a quarter of the B.C. water supply. In any well, if production is too high, it will dry up. Worldwide, this has already happened to about 40 per cent of all wells. Fortunately, in B.C., precipitation normally replenishes the groundwater, so future supplies are reasonably secure.
In arid areas, human requirements can drain even large rivers. The mighty Colorado, which created the Grand Canyon, disappears before it reaches the sea.
In B.C., it is the high run-off rate which tends to drain rivers in dry spells. During the past summer, some became precariously low and groundwater supplied much of the flow.
Global warming means that summer droughts could increase, and restrictions on water usage could become more common. Unfortunately, these droughts could also mean trouble for both river fish and our forests.
Warming and other major events, both good and bad, are happening today, which brings to mind an ancient Chinese curse: “May you live in interesting times.”
Jim DrummondQualicum Beach