The California Aqueduct, a system of canals, tunnels and pipelines, conveys water collected from the Sierra Nevada Mountains and valleys of Northern and Central California to Southern California. Rolf Schulten / ullstein bild / Getty Images By Roger Bales and Brandi McKuin Climate change and water scarcity are front and center in the western U.S. The region’s climate is warming , a severe multi-year drought is underway and groundwater supplies are being overpumped in many locations. Western states are pursuing many strategies to adapt to these stresses and prepare for the future . These include measures to promote renewable energy development, conserve water, and manage natural and working lands more sustainably. As engineers working on climate-smart solutions, we’ve found an easy win-win for both water and climate in California with what we call the "solar canal solution." About 4,000 miles of canals transport water to some 35 million Californians and 5.7 million acres of farmland across the state. Covering these canals with solar panels would reduce evaporation of precious water – one of California’s most critical resources – and help meet the state’s renewable energy goals, while also saving money. Conserving Water and Land California is prone to drought […]


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