Reclamation and Partners Release New Hydrologic Projections for Contiguous United States

Using downscaled projections reduces assessment costs and supports risk-based climate adaptation planning

Media Contact: Peter Soeth, 303-945-3615
Lauren Meredith, 720-315-0056

For Release: July 22, 2014

WASHINGTON - The Bureau of Reclamation has released new hydrologic projections that will help local water managers answer questions about future climate, stream flow and water resources. This new scientific data uses the updated World Climate Research Program climate projections that have been scaled to a finer resolution (downscaled) for water management decision support systems. "Reclamation is helping water managers prepare for the impacts of climate change with the release of this information, supporting the President's Climate Action Plan," Acting Reclamation Commissioner Lowell Pimley said. "Researchers and planners can use these future climate and hydrology projections to assess societal impacts and explore adaptation options."

The hydrologic data was derived from new downscaled climate projections using the Coupled Model Inter-comparison Project Phase 5 (CMIP5) data from the World Climate Research Program that was made available by Reclamation and collaborators in May 2013. To develop the new hydrologic projections, the group translated 97 of those downscaled CMIP5 climate projections into fine resolution projections of hydrology for the contiguous United States.

The new hydrology projections are available here. Scientists and engineers can use this website to quickly access and download the new information.

The World Climate Research Program develops global climate projections through its CMIP roughly every five to seven years. Results from CMIP3 were released in 2007 and later used in Reclamation research and assessments including the 2011 SECURE Water Act Report and WaterSMART Basin Studies completed in the Colorado, Yakima and St. Mary - Milk River basins.

These new hydrology projections were developed by Reclamation, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and National Corporation for Atmospheric Research in collaboration with Climate Analytics Group, Climate Central, Lawrence Livermore National Labs, Santa Clara University, Scripps Institution of Oceanography and U.S. Geological Survey.

You can learn more about how Reclamation is addressing climate change at

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Reclamation is the largest wholesale water supplier and the second largest producer of hydroelectric power in the United States, with operations and facilities in the 17 Western States. Its facilities also provide substantial flood control, recreation, and fish and wildlife benefits. Visit our website at and follow us on Twitter @USBR.