More than three-quarters of the counties in California face the possibility of water shortages by the middle of the century as a result of global warming.

A new study, commissioned by the Natural Resources Defense Council, concludes that 48 of the state’s 58 counties are at risk of water shortages by 2050, putting some 22 billion worth of crops in jeopardy and raising the possibility of long-term rationing and other restrictions.

The report, released Tuesday, is not the first to examine how climate change will affect water supplies across the United States, but its authors say it is the first to show the impact on individual counties.

Nearly every county in the Bay Area, except for San Francisco, is on the list for suffering water shortages.

Researchers projected the counties’ risks of water shortages by analyzing factors such as precipitation, water use and demand, susceptibility to drought and the need for greater storage capacity.

California is among 14 states that would be the hardest hit and are likely to see limitations on water availability.


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