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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

Video: Brad Udall - Climate change and the water cycle in the West

Upcoming Events

Intermountain West Climate Dashboard

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

Most recent Briefing: July 11

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 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)

National Climate Assessment report describes impacts of climate change in U.S.

Climate Change Impacts in the United StatesOn May 6, the Third National Climate Assessment (NCA), Climate Change Impacts in the United States, was released by the U.S. Global Change Research Program. The comprehensive 829-page report assesses the science of climate change, and the impacts of climate change occurring now and through the 21st century, with the goal of better informing public and private decision-making at all levels. WWA’s Kristen Averyt was a lead author of the “Energy, Water, and Land Use” chapter. Kristen and several other WWA team members also contributed to regional and sectoral reports used as technical input for the NCA report. Explore the findings and download the NCA report here. (May 7, 2014)

WWA Team Member wins UCOWR Award

Joe Kasprzyk, an assistant professor of civil engineering at the University of Colorado Boulder and a member of WWA's research team, was recently awarded the Universities Council on Water Resources Dissertation Award for natural science and engineering. Kasprzyk's research applies many-objective analysis to water resource challenges, helping water resource managers better understand the full suite of available decision options available given various constraints. For more on Joe's work, visit his website. (April 17, 2014)

WWA/NIDIS/GWC Report on climate change and the Navajo Nation released

Considerations for Climate Change and Variability on the Navajo NationWestern 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. (April 2, 2014)

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. (March 11, 2014)

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. (March 5, 2014)