Liz Payton

  • Liz Payton
    University of Colorado Boulder
    Research Assistant, CIRES

    Liz Payton


    Water Resources Specialist

    Liz Payton joined the WWA team in 2018 to serve as co-editor and co-author of the synthesis report, Colorado River Basin Climate and Hydrology: State of the Science, released in 2020. She is currently serving as the Water Chapter Lead for the Fifth National Climate Assessment while continuing to work with water users in the WWA region to access and understand climate and hydrology information. She is associate editor of the Journal of the Water Resources Association's featured collection, "Severe Sustained Drought Revisited: Managing the Colorado River System in Times of Water Shortage 25 Years Later."

    Her experience includes several river basin and municipal system water supply modeling projects across the West. She co-authored one of the first studies of climate change impacts on hydrology and water allocation in the Colorado River basin. Liz served as the Wyoming State Engineer's technical expert in statistical hydrology in the NE v. WY North Platte River litigation in the original jurisdiction of the US Supreme Court.

    Liz has an MS in Civil Engineering from CU Boulder and was a water resources engineer at Hydrosphere Resource Consultants for 16 years. Prior to earning her MS degree, she served in the US Peace Corps as a volunteer math and science teacher in a remote village in western Nepal. Liz has also volunteered on city working groups and boards including chairing the City of Boulder Planning Board. 


  • Frisvold, George B., Linda M. Fernandez, Flavio Lehner, Stephanie A. McAfee, Sharon Megdal, Elizabeth Payton, Jack Schmidt, Julie Vano, and Connie Woodhouse. 2022. “Featured Collection Introduction: Severe Sustained Drought Revisited: Managing the Colorado River System in Times of Water Shortage 25 Years Later — Part I.” JAWRA Journal of the American Water Resources Association 58 (5): 597–603.

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