About Us

The Western Water Assessment (WWA) is a university-based applied research program that addresses societal vulnerabilities related to climate, particularly in the area of water resources. While we are based in Boulder, Colorado, we work across the Intermountain West—Colorado, Utah, and Wyoming.

Our mission is to identify and characterize regional vulnerabilities to and impacts of climate variability and change, and to develop information, products, and processes to assist decision makers throughout the Intermountain West.

The WWA team is comprised of researchers in multiple disciplines—climatology, hydrology, ecology, social sciences, and law—at the University of Colorado-Boulder and several other institutions in the region. We work directly with stakeholders such as water managers to articulate research questions, and ensure that the research products will be usable in their planning and decision-making processes. Ultimately, our goal is to improve societal preparedness for climate variability and climate change.

We are part of the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES) at the University of Colorado-Boulder. Our primary source of funding is NOAA’s Regional Integrated Sciences and Assessments (RISA) Program, and we are one of 11 RISA-supported regional programs operating across the U.S.

Much of our work focuses on the multiple stressors that interact with climate to pose challenges to water resource management. For example, our ongoing Snowmelt Perturbations project seeks to disentangle the effects of annual climate variability, long-term climate change, dust-on-snow, and beetle kill, on the delivery of runoff from forested watersheds.


In addition to conducting research projects, we produce synthesis and assessment products to make existing knowledge more accessible to stakeholders, such as the 2008 WWA report Climate Change in Colorado for the Colorado Water Conservation Board. WWA also summarizes and delivers near-real-time climate information in our Intermountain West Climate Summary and other products. In providing useful products for our stakeholders in our region, we also serve to prototype, for NOAA, the delivery of regional climate services.