Drought Planning on the Wasatch Front Using Paleo-Drought Information and Future Climate Projections


Start Date

Research Theme
Primary Investigators
D. Johnson
D. Hess
D. Rosenberg
J. Stagge
S. McGettigan
C. Hasenyager
A. Nay

Geographic Region

Weber Basin Water Conservancy District
Utah Division of Water Resources and Utah State University

Weber Basin Water Conservancy District (WBWCD) was awarded a grant in June 2016 from the US Bureau of Reclamation to develop a drought contingency plan. Arens received one month of salary from the grant award to develop future projections of Weber River streamflow. The project uses a RiverWare systems model of the Weber River Basin to explore how past and future droughts may impact water availability and reservoir storage in the Weber River Basin. WBWCD is a relatively junior water rights holder, despite providing water to several hundred thousand residents of the northern Wasatch Front. The project will use information derived from paleo-reconstructions of Weber River streamflow using tree rings to understand how droughts of the past could impact water availability in the Weber River Basin. Future Weber River streamflows were projected using the NOAA Colorado Basin River Forecast Center operational models. Information about past and future drought conditions in the Weber River Basin will be used to develop a drought contingency plan to help WBWCD prepare for future variability in Weber River water availability.

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