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
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
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.
A skillful early detection and warning system for severe and/or abrupt climate change would benefit both adaptation and preparedness. But what would a severe climate change early warning system look like? Important characteristics of dangerous climate shifts, like rate of onset, intensity, spatial distribution, and predictability, are little known but are the subject of growing research efforts. Some ad hoc forms of climate early warnings are already emerging, and attention now to lessons, positive and negative, from existing hazard warning systems would seem prudent. Read the full article at Weather and Climate Extremes.
Travis, W. R., 2013. Weather and Climate Extremes, October 30.
WWA/NIDIS/GWC Report on Climate Change and the Navajo Nation Released
Western Water Assessment, in collaboration with the National Integrated Drought Information System and the Getches-Wilkinson Center at the University of Colorado Boulder, recently completed Considerations for Climate Change and Variability on the Navajo Nation. This report provides the Navajo Nation with a baseline set of information intended for use in adaptation planning for climate variability and change.
New Article by WWA's Eric Gordon and Ben Livneh on bark beetle infestation impacts on water supplies
WWA's Eric Gordon and Ben Livneh, along with their colleague Evan Pugh, recently published an article providing a broad summary of potential effects of bark beetle infestations on water quantity and quality. The article was published in Utility Intelligence and Infrastructure. For more information on this topic, visit, WWA's Beetles, Water, and Climate webpage.
Imtiaz Rangwala interviewed on CMIP3 vs. CMIP5
Many western water managers use the CMIP3 downscaled climate projections to plan for the effects of climate change on their water systems. Now that the CMIP5 projections have been released, water managers are wondering what this means for their investment in CMIP3. WWA's Imtiaz Rangwala recently presented on CMIP3 vs. CMIP5 in a webinar for Carpe Diem West, and a follow-up interview with Imtiaz on that topic was just posted in Confluence, Carpe Diem West's e-newsletter.
Salt Lake City Utilities' Laura Briefer talks about working with WWA on climate study
Laura Briefer, a Water Resources Manager with the Salt Lake City Department of Public Utilities, is interviewed about working with WWA on a recent climate study. She co-authored a study with the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences and Western Water Assessment that investigated how rising temperatures could challenge Salt Lake City’s water supply. The study “Planning for an Uncertain Future: Climate Change Sensitivity Assessment toward Adaptation Planning for Public Water Supply” was published in the journal Earth Interactions.
New WWA study analyzes disincentives to water conservation
A new study by WWA's Doug Kenney found that, especially in western contexts, water utilities face multiple financial and other constraints that tend to reduce the appeal of conservation in long-term planning efforts. Kenney's paper, published in the Journal of the American Water Works Association, found two major types of disincentives—those related to supply reliability and those related to utility revenues. The paper recommends considering other financial models, such as the "decoupling" model used by some electricity utilities.
New study: Dust, warming portend dry future for the Colorado River
Reducing the amount of desert dust swept onto snowy Rocky Mountain peaks could help Western water managers deal with the challenges of a warmer future, according to a new study. With support from WWA and NASA’s Interdisciplinary Science program, CIRES’ Jeffrey Deems and his colleagues examined the combined effects of regional warming and dust on the Colorado River, which is fed primarily by snowmelt. During recent years, desert dust has been settling thick and dark on the snowpack in the northern Rocky Mountain headwaters of the Colorado River, and snowpack is melting out as many as six weeks earlier than it did in the 1800s, according to the new study. See the CIRES Press Release.