Study spurs water worries

A new study on the declining mountain snowpack in the West should bring more attention to water issues in regions already struggling to sustain the natural resource.

Published last week in the journal Science, the study claims manmade climate change—not natural weather cycles—is the primary cause of the dwindling snowpack. The study is based on data collected during the past 50 years, and took into account other possibilities for the decline, such as volcanic activity. What it found was that by April 1 the water content of the snowpack had decreased each year since 1950 in eight of the nine mountain regions, reported The Washington Post.

Lead author Tim Barnett, from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego, told the Post that “things will be getting worse.” That may spell trouble in many parts of the West and Southwest, which are reliant on the pack’s springtime melt for drinking water, irrigation and power, reported the newspaper.