Today the Bend Bulletin ran a story on climate change’s impact to local rivers and I was one of the people quoted. I am always frustrated with the experience of spending time discussing an issue in depth and seeing cursory coverage as a result. I respect work the reporter does for the paper and understand that space is limited but there is so much more to say. Oh well. The good news is the article does capture the big picture and hopefully adds to the general awareness of global warming’s current local impact, not sometime in the future. That being said, I do have one quibble with the story.
While the local aquifer is deep, the shallow sections in the high Cascades are already seeing impacts from decreasing snow melt which use to extend over much of the summer. Less snow means less water slowly released through the basalt into the aquifer.
These shallow sections emerge as springs that create rivers like the Deschutes, the Metolius, and Fall River. High elevation springs and rivers are already seeing impact from global warming with decreased flow in the summer and fall.
Bridge Creek, a primary source of municipal water for the City of Bend above Tumalo Falls, will also be impacted. The City does have deep wells but Bridge Creek has been a significant and cheap source of water. Water charges will likely rise in future as more pumping is required. At some point rationing may even need to occur if water rights are not reallocated towards more municipal use.