Climate Adaptation Guidance for Salt Lake City Public Utilities


Start Date

Primary Investigators
T. Bardsley
A. Wood (NCAR)
L. Briefer (SLCPUD)
J. Niermeyer (SLCPUD)
M. Hobbins (NOAA ESRL PSD)
S. Burian (University of Utah)
E. Goharian (University of Utah)
C. Strong (University of Utah)
P. Stoker (University of Utah)
J. Lhotak (NOAA CBRFC)
C. Peterson (NOAA CBRFC)

Geographic Region

Salt Lake City Department of Public Utilities

WWA’s Tim Bardsley has spearheaded a climate change assessment and adaptation planning effort for the Salt Lake City Department of Public Utilities. The results of this first phase of work, consisting of a water supply climate sensitivity analysis, was published as “Planning for an Uncertain Future: Climate Change Sensitivity Assessment towards Adaptation Planning for Public Water Supply” in a special edition of Earth Interactions. This paper produced numerous media hits and was cited as a prime example of local-level adaptation work by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. Ongoing efforts in this project include a pilot study on one of Salt Lake City’s watershed creeks, where a reservoir systems planning model has been developed. The model has recently been expanded to include the full water supply system. This systems model is currently being incorporated into an integrated water planning model. The planning model will facilitate more comprehensive assessments of changes in system reliability are being evaluated in combination with future water demand, supply, infrastructure, and management scenarios. To add to available information on climate impacts to water supplies, Bardsley will work with colleagues to integrate soon-to-be-available high-resolution dynamically downscaled climate projections, test an expanded integrated water planning model, and develop more advanced water supply and demand scenarios to evaluate a range of possible future impacts to water supply to assist in defining low-regrets management strategies.

Bardsley, T., A. Wood, M. Hobbins, T. Kirkham, L. Briefer, J. Niermeyer, and S. Burian (2013). Planning for an Uncertain Future: Climate Change Sensitivity Assessment toward Adaptation Planning for Public Water Supply. Earth Interactions, Volume 17, Issue 23, 1-26, October, doi: 10.1175/2012EI000501.1

Multiple stakeholder presentations; information directly transferred to SLCDPU.

Leveraged Funding:
In-kind staff efforts from NOAA Colorado Basin River Forecast Center, University of Utah, National Center for Atmospheric Research, and NOAA Earth Systems Research Laboratory Physical Sciences Division

Sign up to be on our email list!

Get news and updates from Western Water Assessment.

© 2024 Western Water Assessment