Lessons learned from the 2000s Western drought: Evolving linkages between research and services
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Lessons learned from the 2000s Western drought: Evolving linkages between research and services CLIVAR, 22 October, 2008 Lincoln, Nebraska Andrea J. Ray, NOAA Earth Systems Research Laboratory and CU-NOAA Western Water Assessment [email protected]

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Lessons learned from the 2000s Western drought: Evolving linkages between research and services

CLIVAR, 22 October, 2008

Lincoln, Nebraska

Andrea J. Ray,

NOAA Earth Systems Research Laboratory

and CU-NOAA Western Water [email protected]

With contributions from the WWA team: Roger Pulwarty, Doug Kenney, Chris Goemans, Bobbie Klein, Brad Udall, Jess Lowery, etc…

And of course to our many opinionated stakeholders…

Western Water Assessment

http://sciencepolicy.colorado/wwa


Overview and summary points
Overview and Summary points linkages between research and services

  • What is drought as a service need -- drought vs “climate”

  • What WWA has learned from the 2000s western drought -- a history of WWA projects

    • Role of interactions in shaping research and experimental services

    • Three cases

    • Front Range Municipalities

    • Reclamation Reservoir Management

    • State Water Adaptation Planning : the Colorado Climate change Report

  • What drought/climate information was used, what users wanted/needed, and our inferences

  • Drought risk management

    • More than just the right products, and occurs in a dialogue about risks

    • What are the spaces for interaction for these scientist-stakeholder dialogues, both on products and for services?

    • Understanding the nature of risk and information/knowledge needed to manage risk

    • Managing drought in the context of changing climate -- adaptation strategies

  • Role of social sciences??


What is “drought” as a service need?? linkages between research and services

  • Problem Identification: drought vs climate

    • Drought not an issue itself, but as it relates to other water problems

    • Role of perception, Spring of 2005

      • “The drought is over, time for a flood??” Salt Lake City Tribune, April 12 2005; “The drought is over,” Utah Center for Weather and Climate, based on the Drought Monitor

  • Lake Powell then at 37%

  • Irony of risk of a call on the river, even if Utah flooded that spring

  • D0, D1…DX don’t always correspond to managers’ own perception of drought and how it relates to variables critical to them

  • Illustrates time & space scales of risk and information

  • Prompted EIS on reservoir operations


Assessing drought
Assessing drought linkages between research and services

  • Context for drought information needs

  • Who determines water shortage and how: individuals, managers of overlapping resources/areas, political dimension

  • Information available to assess conditions is distributed across multiple agency webpages, may not be easily evaluated on spatial scales of interest

  • Social monitoring of drought:

    • Organizations and individuals assess drought according to their own jurisdictions

    • Drought Task Forces

    • Reservoir and basin management groups

    • Basin councils

    • Related resource management groups

      • Environmental, irrigation

    • Managers’ own perception of drought may not link to drought status

  • Long-term policies that must be able to respond to drought: EIS for Lakes Powell and Mead; municipal/state water planning


Regional integrated science assessment contributions
Regional Integrated Science & Assessment linkages between research and services contributions

  • WWA is one of 9 regional programs

  • Empirical studies

  • Decision studies of water management and agriculture

    • Characterize decisions and decisionmakers

    • Institutional/legal opportunities/constraints

    • Organizational/behavioral opportunities/constraints

  • Experiments in communicating with stakeholders

  • Understanding user needs

    • Perception, cognitive, communications studies

  • Experiments in creating and maintaining partnerships over time

    • Reservoir management, drought task forces, climate change and state water supply planning

  • WWA experiences and cases


What wwa has learned from interactions in the 2000s drought
What WWA has learned from interactions in the 2000s drought linkages between research and services

  • Pre-WWA workshops

    • Established connections with key water management communities; ‘97-98 El Nino and ‘99 La Nina prompt interest in seasonal forecasts

  • 1st WWA workshop, summer 1999

    • Focus on seasonal forecast use; river management to support ESA ID’d as key issue

  • Reservoir management workshops, 2 basins, 1999-2000

    • CBRFC connection; Ray work on decision process; Clark et al. river forecast work --> week 2 forecast applications

    • Ongoing participation in basin technical working groups (USBR, CRWCD, SEO, etc)

  • 2002 Drought -- Rapid Response activities

    • Climate info sheets; regular participation in the Colorado Water Availability Task Force; Kenney and Klein studies of municipal drought plans; study w/ CSU-Extension on ag responses and decisions

    • Drought focussed interest, but a big question was whether representative droughts used in planning were reasonable

    • Interest in paleoclimate reconstructions --> training workshops (Woodhouse)

    • -->shift in the kinds of research done, more science collaborators brought in

  • Intermountain West Climate Summary started, 8x/year

    • climate literacy and dialogue

  • WY2005 Colorado Basin Outlook briefing, SLC, Nov 2004

    • Need coordinated message, don’t argue the science at a stakeholder briefing

    • Well attended, interest in, request for future meetings


What wwa has learned cont
What WWA has learned (cont) linkages between research and services

  • 2005 and 2006 Colorado and WY climate workshops

    • Increasing interest in climate change; Interest in demand side management as an adaptation strategy; increasing focus to municipal management and climate change

  • 2006/7

    • Ongoing low flows into Lakes Powell and Mead prompt USBR “Shortage EIS”

    • Policy processes again confirmed as an focusing “event: and entry point for climate information

  • 2007/8 WY

    • Regional “on the ground” drought lessens, but interests in climate change snowballing

    • Need for regional information specific to broad sector needs

      • Front range municipalities commission a climate change scenarios study

      • Denver water hires a climatologist

      • CLIVAR applications post-doc -- higher than expected interest

    • Governor’s conference on mitigating risks…& Colorado Climate Report

    • Interest in climate change information is beyond what the science can or is ready to provide


Front range municipalities study

Northern linkages between research and services

Boulder

Westminster

Denver

Aurora

Colorado Springs

Front Range Municipalities Study

  • Uses of climate information & forecastsFactors affecting use

  • Six Front Range water providers: Northern Colorado Water Conservancy District, Boulder, Westminster, Denver, Colorado Springs, and Aurora

  • Serve about 60% of Colorado’s population

    Context:

  • Interactions with WWA and other climate information providers since 1998

  • Drought in 2002

  • Different contexts for growth, water supply reliability; use change, etc


Sensitivity of water supply linkages between research and services

Drought of 2002-2006 +

Popn growth and use changes

Perception of risk

Interactions with WWA

Climate literacy

Institutional capacity

Use of climate information and forecasts

  • Perception of higher risk, coupled with higher sensitivity of water supply to climate variability increases the desire to use climate information and forecasts.

  • A severe drought led to perception of higher risk, and water managers sought out climate knowledge from WWA and others.

  • Climate literacy, plus perception of higher risk, and institutional capacity led these water managers to seek out and use new climate information and forecasts –and .


Drought usbr reservoir management
Drought & USBR reservoir management linkages between research and services

  • Implications of hydroclimatic variability are increasingly important for water management

  • Hydrologic predictions have great potential for integrated and adaptive management

    • operations and long-range planning

  • A key factor in the use of hydrologic predictions is the institutional capacity to use this information effectively

  • Studies of “adaptive capacity” indicate that collective action, indicated by networks and social capital, are a key factor in the ability to cope with climate change (Adger, 2003 and others)

  • Case study of adaptive capacity of the USBR Aspinall Unit, one of 4 major projects of the Colorado River Storage Project


Coping with the 2002 drought
Coping with the 2002 drought linkages between research and services

  • Runoff forecasts, flows, well below 50% average across the Gunnison basin, forecasted well ahead of the runoff season based on snowpack

    • Seasonal inflow into Aspinall was the lowest on record

  • Managers implemented previous agreements for dry years and developed new ones “in real time”

    • Drought provision triggered in the Interim Contract for fish water, however, managers recognized early in the season that fish wouldn’t be protected

    • Developed a new agreement among participants to ameliorate recognized problem

      • conserved storage and kept water in the river for fish

      • unlikely without existing trust and cooperation

    • US Fish and Wildlife (FWS) agreed to shorten operations at the fish ladder to conserve water; lowered in stream flows; shared shortage

    • No peak augmentation requested by FWS or NPS

    • Upper Gunnison Water Conservancy District (UGRWCD) small contracts helped their constituents


Coping with the 2002 drought cont
Coping with the 2002 drought, cont. linkages between research and services

  • Actions allowed reservoir managers to provide water for more uses than under formal operating criteria

    • Supplies stretched out into the summer due to storage conserved earlier

    • Uncompahgre Valley Water Users Assn. didn’t get a full allocation for the first time ever, but gave 70% ration to users

    • Life-sustaining flows for endangered fish in the critical reach

  • Flows for fish were acknowledged to have other benefits: water quality, trout and trout-fishing, rafting/boating

  • Relatively little conflict, many participants acknowledged help and cooperation of other organizations

    In contrast to the rigid constraints found in other systems, operations here are often adjusted for a variety of reasons, revealing flexibility & adaptability in operations and a collaborative management structure that seeks adaptive solutions

    Climate information is one factor in this adaptive capacity, but the institutional capacity to interpret and respond is crucial


Current uses of information for reservoir management
Current uses of information linkages between research and servicesfor reservoir management

  • NOAA/CPC forecasts incorporated in reservoir inflow forecasts and also considered independently by managers

    • Efforts to improve use of climate forecasts in river forecasts

    • But -- often little skill in the Upper Basin where most supply originates

  • Drought of record used in planning: 1955-1967 (12yrs); Variability in natural flow into reservoirs Lake Powell 1906 - 2003, index sequencing in operations models

  • Interest in longer records of variability:

    • Paleoclimate research (Woodhouse et al. new reconstruction for Lee’s Ferry, May 2006 Water Resources Research)

    • Reconstructed hydrology -- New methodologies to combine paleo reconstructions of flow with historic gauge data (Rajagopalan et al.)

    • USBR, Denver Water, others, conducting modeling and planning studies based on these studies

    • --> Paleoclimate reconstructions on the verge of being “standard” information


Current uses of climate information in municipal water supply management
Current uses of climate information in municipal water supply management

  • Use of the instrumental record of hydro-climate variables in planning and operations models

  • The use of climate influenced hydro-climate parameters to generate projections of streamflow, reservoir contents, or water supply

    • SWE, historic records of streamflow, water year precipitation

  • Use of paleoclimate data, e.g. reconstructions of SWE or streamflow

  • Use of forecasts of climate variables, e.g., precipitation or temperature, such as the NOAA/CPC Monthly and Seasonal Climate Forecasts, or medium-range weather forecasts

  • Climate variability reflected in annual and longer term operations in ways other than use of forecasts


Perspectives from user studies users needs longer range questions
Perspectives from user studies: Users needs supply managementLonger-range questions

  • Increasing requests for information on interannual and decadal time scales (+ 5, 10, 15 years)

    • Reservoir inflows over several years (at least 2)

    • Drought outlooks over the next decade

    • Are the historical droughts of record still a valid planning tool?

    • Are return periods for flooding still valid?

  • Interest in assessments: range of potential climate change scenarios, droughts that have occurred outside the instrumental record

  • “Can we produce reliable baselines for planning given large year to year and decade to decade variations?”

    • “Are the assumptions of planning borne out under projections of varying and changing climates?”

    • e.g. 1906 Rio Grande treaty definition of “extra-ordinary drought” invoked 14 times over the last 50 years

    • “Do present simulations of change adequately represent modes of variations (ENSO, NAO, PDO etc.) ?”


How drought information might be used wwa observations
How drought information might be used: WWA observations supply management

  • “Conversation” within water management groups and with their stakeholders, and with scientists -- dialogue about risks

  • Mental models of managers for their systems are important as well as hydrologic and management models

  • Relationship of information to their triggers, thresholds

  • As interested in the information behind the Drought Monitor as the DM itself, in order to make their own assessments

  • Synthesis of research into products & analysis that connect climate impacts to water management impacts:

    Temperature --> evaporation, rain/snow mix, urban demand, length of growing season

    Timing of spring runoff --> water rights, reservoir reliability

    Synchroneity --> diversity of supply sources


Climate Change in Colorado: supply managementA Synthesis to Support Water Resources Management and Adaptation

Report by the Western Water Assessment

for the Colorado Water Conservation Board

Lead Authors: Andrea J. Ray1, 2, Joseph J. Barsugli3, Kristen B. Averyt2,3

Authors: Martin Hoerling1, Klaus Wolter2, 3

1NOAA/ESRL, 2CIRES/Western Water Assessment,

3CIRES/Climate Diagnostics Center, 4Colorado State University

October 2008


Integrating climate information into water resources planning and management
Integrating climate information into water resources planning and management

Synthesis of the Science to support:

  • Governor Ritter’s Climate Change Action Plan & State water planning

  • Governor’s Conference on Managing Risks of Drought and Climate, Oct 8-10, 2008

  • Aimed at water-related planners, decisionmakers, and policymakers in Colorado

    • Based on WWA extensive interactions with water managers

    • Water managers contributed to framing and review of the document

    • Jargon minimized; glossary; Fahrenheit units; published figures/data re-plotted for simplicity and to focus on CO

  • Report leads forward into uses of climate in drought mitigation and adaptation planning

    • Connects science to vulnerability analysis and Integrated Resource Planning (IRP)

    • potential uses of the information in this report in assessment of climate risks and vulnerabilities and in integrated resource planning and adaptation.

    • Examples of how climate change information has been considered in water-related resource planning


Key findings
Key findings planning and management

  • Climate in CO is highly variable compared to other states

  • The mountains and elevation make Colorado’s climate unique compared with other Western states

  • Temperatures have been increasing in CO

  • Educate about models and their strengths and weaknesses

  • Temperature projections are consistent: will continue to rise

  • Uncertainty in precipitation projections

  • Even in the absence of precipitation changes, temperature increases alone combined related changes in evaporation and soil moisture, all recent hydrologic projections show a decline in runoff for most of Colorado's river basins by the mid-21st century

  • A synthesis of findings in this report suggests a reduction in total water availability by the mid-21st century

    http://cwcb.state.co.us


What is needed to facilitate drought related decisionmaking
What is needed to facilitate drought-related decisionmaking?

  • Scientists need to collaborate with these sophisticated, but

    • non-climate experts in a common language

  • Variables and indices

    • flexible formats, areas, time scales

    • tools to relate observations, historical data, and forecasts to water managers perspectives, e.g. to their problems

  • Ways to evaluate climate scenarios in their management scenarios

  • Tools for managers to talk to their stakeholders

  • Partnerships

    • Interactions maintained over time

    • Influence of scientists on the drought planning process and of water managers on science done

    • Innovation in both science and management from interaction

    • Fora for communication, learning, bringing perspectives together


Beyond forecasts services for drought decision support
Beyond forecasts --> “Services” for drought decision support

  • Drought framing as part of climate and climate change

    • Focussing event for mitigation planning and adaptation (new “normal”?)

    • Opportunity to incorporate climate into other policies – e.g. EIS

  • Drought risk management

    • More than just the right products, and occurs in a dialogue about risks

    • What are the spaces for interaction for these scientist-stakeholder dialogues? Drought task forces, water user associations, agency meetings

    • Understanding the nature of risk and information/knowledge needed to manage risk

    • Managing drought in the context of changing climate -- adaptation strategies and acknowledging long-term vulnerability

  • Dialogue about climate-related risks with policy and planning for 20-50 year horizons

    • Not forecasting for these horizons, but inform long-lived policies likely to encounter multi-year droughts and impacts of observed trends


Beyond forecasts services for drought decision support1
Beyond forecasts --> “Services” for drought decision support

  • What’s the role of social science within the creation of drought-related climate services??

  • What is the physical science/social science partnership??

    • Not just that SS markets/helps market findings or that the focus is too science-driven

    • Not just what products are needed but what are the spaces in which knowledge is created and scientist-stakeholder interactions link research to services

    • “What skill can your applications use?” -- add richness to this discussion

    • Identify and help develop needed synthesis of research into products & analysis that connect climate impacts to water management impacts (e.g. Timing of spring runoff --> water rights, reservoir reliability)


Thank you

Thank you!

[email protected]

NOAA Earth Systems Research Lab

“Climate Analysis Branch”



Case: Diagnosis and Impacts of Warm Season Storms, Floods and Sediment Inputs into the Middle Colorado River: Applications to Decision Making and Adaptive Management

  • Glen Canyon Dam Adaptive Management Program (GCDAMP): to balance numerous, often competing, objectives, such as, water supply, hydropower generation, low flow maintenance, maximizing the tributary supplied sediment, endangered species recovery, and flood control.

  • Key concern identified by the GCDAMP: need sediment input into the Grand Canyon; warm season floods produce these

  • Use of monitored and predictive information on the warm season floods (at point-to-regional scales) has been identified as lead-information that can potentially facilitate improved planning and operations.

  • Project mapped physical processes alongside planning & decision processes for the releases from the Dam which are aimed at achieving restoration and maintenance of sandbars and instream ecology.


Grand canyon region cont
Grand Canyon region, cont and Sediment Inputs into the Middle Colorado River: Applications to Decision Making and Adaptive Management

  • Management occurs in the context of a range of variability

    • Extremes of one type (flooding, high flows)may ocur during a drought

    • “test releases” of flood flows implemented during 2004 and 2006vduring dry or drought conditions

  • Monitored and predictive information on the warm season floods (at point-to-regional scales) is lead-information that can potentially facilitate improved planning and operations.

  • Can’t escape needing information on both sides of the extremes

  • Similar issues in Aspinall EIS/Gunnison River endangered fish recovery

  • Shaleen Jain, Roger Pulwarty & Jon Eischeid;

    Theodore S. Melis & David Topping


Case aurora project kenney et al
Case: Aurora project, Kenney et al and Sediment Inputs into the Middle Colorado River: Applications to Decision Making and Adaptive Management

  • Rapidly growing suburban Denver; junior surface water rights, groundwater table decreasing

  • Demand management worked following the 2002 drought, but we didn’t know what efforts were successful

  • Better supply forecasts of limited use

  • Demand management provides one of the best opportunities to adapt to climate change and climate variability

  • Utility-controlled variables are one factor in conservation: Price elasticity of demand, rebates, water restrictions; use “smartreaders” and block rates

  • Understanding of behavior suggests potential for use of summer weather and climate forecasts, both in utility planning and for individual users

    • Week 2 forecasts; seasonal demand calculations; suite of drought outlooks? Wk 2/1 month/3 month


Other cases
Other cases and Sediment Inputs into the Middle Colorado River: Applications to Decision Making and Adaptive Management

  • Other examples: see gunnison/aspinall

  • Front range….raised interest in climate info in general


Report goals
Report Goals and Sediment Inputs into the Middle Colorado River: Applications to Decision Making and Adaptive Management

Communicate some major concepts

  • Climate in CO is highly variable compared to other states

  • The mountains and elevation make Colorado’s climate unique compared with other Western states

  • Temperatures have been increasing in CO

  • Educate about models and their strengths and weaknesses

  • Temperature projections are consistent: will continue to rise

  • Uncertainty in precipitation projections

  • Even in the absence of precipitation changes, temperature increases alone combined related changes in evaporation and soil moisture, all recent hydrologic projections show a decline in runoff for most of Colorado's river basins by the mid-21st century

  • A synthesis of findings in this report suggests a reduction in total water availability by the mid-21st century


New slide colorado climate report climate change
New slide….Colorado Climate report…climate change and Sediment Inputs into the Middle Colorado River: Applications to Decision Making and Adaptive Management

  • Runoff ….

    • Seasonal inflow into Aspinall was the lowest on record

  • Managers Drought US


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