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Who we are, what we do

The Western Water Assessment (WWA) is an applied research program that addresses societal vulnerabilities related to climate, particularly in the area of water resources. We work across the Intermountain West—Colorado, Utah, and Wyoming—and beyond.

Learn more about WWA

Upcoming Events

December 8–10, 2014
Society for Risk Analysis (SRA) Annual Meeting, Denver, CO
WWA Presenter: Lisa Dilling

December 15–19, 2014
American Geophysical Union (AGU) Fall Meeting, San Francisco, CA
WWA Presenters: Multiple

January 4–8, 2015
American Meteorological Society (AMS) Annual Meeting, Phoenix, AZ
WWA Presenters: Multiple

Intermountain West Climate Dashboard

29 climate and water information graphics for our region—12 are updated daily

Most recent Briefing: December 10

WWA Webinar Series

In 2012, WWA began a series of webinars describing recent and ongoing research by WWA team members. The Webinar Series page offers links to presentations and audio/video from past webinars.

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Recent WWA Publications

What do stakeholders need to manage for climate change and variability?

August 2014

Utility Intelligence & Infrastructure

A document - based analysis from three mountain states in the Western USA. Read the full article at Regional Environmental Change.

Dilling, L., and J. Berggren, 2014. Regional Environmental Change, DOI 10.1007/s10113-014-0668-y, August.

Bark Beetles: Cause for Concern in Snowy Western Watersheds?

March 2014

Utility Intelligence & Infrastructure

A five millimeter long insect triggers complex changes in the hydrology of entire watersheds. Read the full article at Utility Intelligence & Infrastructure.


Gordon, E., Pugh, E., and B. Livneh, 2014. Utility Intelligence & Infrastructure, March.

Understanding utility disincentives to water conservation as a means of adapting to climate change pressures

January 2014

Journal of American Water Works Association

A management model that systematically provides incentives for consumption more so than conservation may no longer promise the greatest social benefits. Read the full article at Journal of American Water Works Association.


Kenney, D. S., 2014. Journal of American Water Works Association, Vol. 106, No. 1, 36-46, January.

Combined impacts of current and future dust deposition and regional warming on Colorado River Basin snow dynamics and hydrology

November 2013

The Senator Beck field site amidst extremely dusty snow, San Juan Mountains, Colo., May 16, 2013. Photo by Jeffrey Deems.

The Colorado River provides water to 40 million people in seven western states and two countries and to 5.5 million irrigated acres. The river has long been overallocated. Climate models project runoff losses of 5–20% from the basin by mid-21st century due to human-induced climate change. Recent work has shown that decreased snow albedo from anthropogenic dust loading to the CO mountains shortens the duration of snow cover by several weeks relative to conditions prior to western expansion of the US in the mid-1800s, and advances peak runoff at Lees Ferry, Arizona, by an average of 3 weeks. Read the full article at Hydrology and Earth System Sciences.


Deems, J.S., T. H. Painter, J. J. Barsugli, J. Belnap, and B. Udall, 2013. Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci. 17, 4401-4413.

WWA Spotlight

WWA/CIRES Free Online Course on "Water in the Western United States"

WWA's Eric Gordon and Anne Gold from the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES) are co-teaching an free online course entitled "Water in the Western United States."

More information and registration for the course can be found here. This college-level course provides a broad overview of the history of water development in the region and relevant hydrology and climatology. The course will run in April, but registration is available now, and there are no requirements other than an Internet connection. We look forward to having you join our course! (December 4, 2014)

Special WWA Webinar 12/5: Water management in the Murray-Darling Basin, Australia

On Friday, December 5, from 11:00 am-12:00 pm, Tony McLeod, Ph.D., General Manager, Water Resource Planning, Murray-Darling Basin Authority, will present a special WWA webinar on water management in the Murray-Darling Basin, Australia. Tony will cover the history of water management in the basin, recent reforms and their implementation, and preparation for climate change challenges. See the WWA Webinars page for more details and login information. (November 25, 2014)

Introducing the U.S. Climate Resilience Toolkit

The first phase of the U.S. Climate Resilience Toolkit website was released on November 17. The Toolkit was developed by the NOAA and other Federal agencies to enable decision-makers to take action to boost their climate resilience using data-driven tools, information, and subject-matter expertise to make smarter decisions. The Toolkit offers information from across the federal government in one easy-to-use location. On the 'Find Experts' tab, WWA is listed as one of several entities within Colorado that are ready to assist Toolkit users with interpreting and applying the climate information accessed through the Toolkit. (November 18, 2014)

WWA and CWCB release Climate Change in Colorado report

Climate Change Impacts in the United StatesWWA and the Colorado Water Conservation Board (CWCB) today released the report “Climate Change in Colorado: A Synthesis to Support Water Resources Management and Adaptation,” which updates and expands on the 2008 WWA-CWCB report of the same name. The report, authored by WWA team members Jeff Lukas, Joe Barsugli, Imtiaz Rangwala, and Klaus Wolter, and WWA affiliate Nolan Doesken of the CSU Colorado Climate Center, presents findings on observed climate trends in the state, linkages with global changes, and projections of future climate and hydrology, as well as guidance on incorporating climate change into planning. Download the report here. (August 5, 2014)

WWA's New Director: Lisa Dilling

Climate Change Impacts in the United StatesLisa Dilling, assistant professor of Environmental Studies at the University of Colorado Boulder, is the new director of the Western Water Assessment (WWA), an applied research program that addresses societal vulnerabilities related to climate, particularly in the area of water resources. Read more... (June 12, 2014)

Webinar on Water-Energy Nexus

On May 8, WWA's Kristen Averyt joined Craig Zamuda from the U.S. Department of Energy for a webinar sponsored by the Association of Metropolitan Water Agencies on the water-energy nexus. To view the webinar, click here. (May 14, 2014)