Analysis of Use of Information by Stakeholders of the Colorado Basin River Forecast Center


Start Date

Primary Investigators

Geographic Region

NOAA NWS Colorado Basin River Forecast Center

The Colorado Basin River Forecast Center (CBRFC) generates forecasts across the Colorado Basin and Utah including daily streamflow forecasts, long lead peak flow forecasts and water supply forecasts. Decision makers such as Denver Water, the Bureau of Reclamation, the Central Arizona Project, and the Colorado River District are some of the CBRFC stakeholders who use or potentially might use these forecasts. Previous research has found, however, that unless reliability and/or quality are threatened, water management agencies have little incentive to use forecasts (especially ensemble forecasts), and that forecast use correlates more with perceived risk than with forecast skill and reliability. A series of workshops with CBRFC stakeholders (facilitated through a previous WWA-CLIMAS project) assessed individual decision making processes in order to see how stakeholders processed visual representations of streamflow data and forecasts and then used this information in decision making. One of the conclusions from the workshops was that a better understanding of the decision making process was needed (Werner et al. 2011). The Deems et al. “Snowmelt Perturbations” project falls within the research and operations part of the framework in that it is working to improve tools such as CBRFC forecasts. This project will augment the snowmelt research by obtaining a better understanding of both the CBRFC stakeholder decision making process as well as how WWA research can feed into this process. We will provide basic data on the stakeholders of the CBFRC, their climate-related decision making contexts, and the role that information does and could play. We also will analyze the potential for the WWA snowpack physical science research to be usable in the CBFRC context and how such information can help stakeholders make better decisions. PIs are preparing a summary and analysis of the interviews which will be integrated with the survey results into a final white paper that will be shared with CBRFC and posted on the WWA website.

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