Lessons from Beverly Hills

What does Beverly Hills have in common with the tar sands?  Simple:  both are experiencing a shortage of water needed to maintain “their lifestyle”.

In  the case of Beverly Hills the consequences are not that serious.  Natural green lawns are disappearing, but ultimately these attractive yards can be replaced with Astroturf.

For tar sands, the issue is potentially more serious.  As a result of the drought being experienced in Alberta this summer, the Alberta Government has suspended temporary permits allowing tar sands operations to remove water from the Athabaska River.

Disruption of water supplies will lead to additional costs. Certain industry leaders have already had to rely upon water taken from the River and put into storage during periods of higher flows.

Simon Donner, a professor of geography at the University of British Columbia and co-author of a paper published in Climate Change describes the problem facing the industry in these terms.

“Climate change is going to affect the river so much it’ll actually affect how much the industry can withdraw. This summer is basically a preview of the future.”

Ironically Alberta is the Province that in the last ten years experienced two floods categorized as what used to be called “one –in-a- hundred-year” floods.

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