Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner Estevan López has released a report that provides a status update on the actions Reclamation is undertaking to meet the challenges of climate change on Western water supplies. This includes meeting the four goals established in the strategy, increasing water management flexibility, enhancing climate adaptation planning, improving infrastructure resiliency, and expanding information sharing.
“Climate change poses clear risks to our ability to deliver water and power,” Commissioner López said. “In light of those risks, Reclamation and our partners will take key steps that line up with the goals of this strategy, helping to ensure a sustainable water supply across the West.”
The strategy identifies four primary goals to improve Reclamation’s ability to consider climate change information in its decision making:
Goal 1 – Increase Water Management Flexibility
Goal 2 – Enhance Climate Adaptation Planning
Goal 3 – Improve Infrastructure Resiliency
Goal 4 – Expand Information Sharing
Reclamation is making progress on the activities identified in the four goals of the strategy. These activities include: five reservoir operation pilot studies that are evaluating how weather, hydrology and climate change information can better inform reservoir operations; implementing hydropower optimizations that could increase generation by 410,000 to 1.2 million megawatt hours per year, enough electricity for between 37,000 to 109,000 households; Reclamation is supporting integration of climate change information across planning activities through approaches developed through the basin studies and the drought response program; the Western Watershed Enhancement Program that has provided nearly $1.2 million to cost-share seven wildfire resiliency projects in Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho and Washington; and Reclamation working with its partners to offer climate change training courses for technical water resource professionals and for general audience on integrating climate change considerations into water resources planning.
The actions identified in the Climate Change Adaptation Strategy are part of the Department of the Interior’s implementation of President Obama’s Climate Action Plan, the strategy provides a framework in which Reclamation managers can develop and adopt innovative solutions that provide a more reliable water supply in a changing climate. It also supports the Nov. 1, 2013, Executive Order, Preparing the United States for the Impacts of Climate Change.
To view the progress report and learn more about how Reclamation is incorporating climate change into its efforts, visit https://www.usbr.gov/climate.