Research

Recent Projects

  • 2021 WWA hosts a workshop with water managers
    Building understanding for water system resilience to changing streamflows
    In this project, we will engage with water providers, tribal representatives, agricultural and other water users, ecological interests, and recreational groups about future snowpack and streamflow conditions, increasing understanding of how they view water system resilience to compound hazards. This continued engagement is essential both to disseminate new research findings and to understand evolving information and planning landscapes.
  • 2021 South St. Vrain Creek near Long Lake, CO
    Building cross-scale understanding and collaboration to support wildfire-resilient water systems
    Water system managers in the Intermountain West face enormous challenges navigating unpredictable streamflow forecasts, changing snowpack behavior, and the increasingly dangerous threat of wildfire to both water quality and quantity. In this project, we aim to engage directly with water system managers in an iterative project to (1) increase understanding of their perceptions of water system resilience, (2) identify key components of regional water system resilience across a range of scales from small rural systems to larger urban systems, and (3) convene cross-scale water manager conversations to support peer learning and identify opportunities to collaboratively build equitable and just regional water system resilience. This project stems directly from conversations with the US Forest Service, Northern Water, and Denver Water.
  • 2021 Western Water Assessment
    Understanding Social Networks to Facilitate Resilience
    When communities experience the impacts of compound hazards, responses are often reactive and it is often too late to respond in an efficient and effective manner (Raymond et al. 2020). Just as academic disciplines are often siloed, sectors and decision-makers can be siloed from one another and not understand interconnections or linkages in decision-making. Social network analysis has been used to understand how information and resources flow through a system and how they influence adaptation actions (Jones & Faas 2016). While social networks have been looked at retrospectively, they have rarely been assessed in a co-produced approach with stakeholders to proactively assess and shift networks to build system resilience (Maldonado 2017).
  • 2021 Barker Reservoir in Nederland, CO
    Supporting Resilient Planning Among Regional Water Providers
    This project supports water system resilience through use-inspired research that helps providers prepare for vulnerabilities due to seasonal water supply prediction errors. We will make meaningful advances in the understanding of existing water supply forecast vulnerabilities and identifying realistic potential adaptations for water systems.
  • 2021 Western Water Assessment
    Building resilience to compounding impacts of wildfire and snowpack declines
    Wildfire is a critical vulnerability for water systems in the Intermountain West, particularly those with intakes located in or downstream of forested areas. This project seeks to increase our understanding of the status of water system resilience in the context of changing wildfire risk. It will make key advances by explicitly quantifying the role of fine-scale, spatially distributed snowpack in wildfire risk/resilience under a range of historical precipitation/temperature conditions, as a way to anticipate future wildfire risks under climate change scenarios. The critical advances in scale will support the use of finer land surface/ecological classifications in wildfire risk assessments of future climate projections.

Recent Publications

Western Water Assessment, 2022. Utah Hazard Planning Tool, S. J. T. Arens, ed., Western Water Assessment, Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences.   Utah Hazard Planning Tool

Yang, Kehan, Keith N. Musselman, Karl Rittger, Steven A. Margulis, Thomas H. Painter, and Noah P. Molotch. 2022. “Combining Ground-Based and Remotely Sensed Snow Data in a Linear Regression Model for Real-Time Estimation of Snow Water Equivalent.” Advances in Water Resources 160 (February): 104075.   https://doi.org/10.1016/j.advwatres.2021.104075

Clifford, Katherine R. 2022. “Natural Exceptions or Exceptional Natures? Regulatory Science and the Production of Rarity.” Annals of the American Association of Geographers, June, 1–18.   https://doi.org/10.1080/24694452.2022.2054768

Dunham, Jason, Joseph R. Benjamin, David J. Lawrence, and Katherine Clifford. 2022. “Resist, Accept, and Direct Responses to Biological Invasions: A Social–Ecological Perspective.” Fisheries Management and Ecology, June, fme.12574.   https://doi.org/10.1111/fme.12574

Riley, R., D. Bertrand, and S. Arens, 2022: Connecting Climate Adaptation and Hazard Mitigation Planning in Climate Discourse-Sensitive Regions: A Cross-RISA Collaborative Project. Southern Climate Impacts Planning Program and Western Water Assessment, 22 pp.   

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