Global warming will have a significant impact on water resources within the 20 to 30-year planning period of many water projects. Arid and semi-arid regions such as Southern California are especially vulnerable to anticipated negative impacts of global warming on water resources. Long-range water facility planning must consider global climate change in the recommended mix of new facilities needed to meet future water requirements. The generally accepted impacts of global warming include increased temperature, rising sea levels, more frequent and severe floods and droughts, and a shift from snowfall to rain. Precipitation changes are more difficult to predict. For Southern California, these impacts will be especially severe on surface water supplies. Additionally, rising sea levels will exacerbate salt-water intrusion into freshwater and impact the quality of surface water supplies. Integrated water resources planning is emerging as a tool to develop water supplies and demand management strategies that are less vulnerable to the impacts of global warming. These tools include water conservation, reclamation, conjunctive use of surface and groundwater and desalination of brackish water and possibly seawater. Additionally, planning for future water needs should include explicit consideration of the potential range of global warming impacts through techniques such as scenario planning.

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