Demonstrating the River Forecast Center (RFC) Water Resources Outlook tool at user workshops to help identify differences in the user populations and determine changes in the Water Resources Outlook product that might be necessary for different types of users
WWA researchers Kristen Averyt and Tim Bardsley worked with the NOAA Colorado Basin River Forecast Center (CBRFC) to better understand how water managers interpret and use streamflow forecast information through a series of interactive workshops. Workshops were held in January 2011 at the AMS Meeting in Seattle, WA in conjunction with a short course on water resources and in June 2011 in Salt Lake City. During these workshops the researchers introduced a gaming exercise that involved forecasted flows and reservoir schedules. These engagements have improved managers’ understanding of available products and user driven improvements to CBRFC web based tools. In addition, scenario-based exercises indicate that most participants tend to use the median forecasts rather than worst-case scenario predicted at the tails of forecast ranges, and many use a wait-and-see approach to planning. These efforts are feeding into continued adjustment of decision support forecasts based on improved understanding of decision-making constraints and processes.