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Building Partnerships

Improving Reclamation’s ability to incorporate climate change and variability information into water resources management depends on building partnerships along several fronts.  Some partnerships are designed to leverage our capabilities with those of partner agencies, focusing on an array of topics including:

  1. Defining user needs and developing research strategy
  2. Vetting approaches for incorporating climate science into water resources management, and
  3. Supporting continuing education to develop core competencies on incorporating the latest climate science into practice. 

Additional partnerships focus on coordinating our efforts with other programs within Reclamation and other agencies,

Leveraging our Capabilities

Climate Change and Water Working Group (CCAWWG) (pdf 500K)

Reclamation and USACE are currently in the initial stages of forming more structured collaborative processes and projects around these needs with NOAA, USGS, DOI Climate Science Centers, the NOAA Regional Integrated Science and Assessment Centers, State of California, Western States Water Council, and other Federal and non-Federal science organizations.

  • USGS Circular 1331: Climate Change and Water Resources Management: a Federal Perspective. CCAWWG agencies co-authored and published this in 2009. The purpose of this interagency report is to explore strategies to improve water management by tracking, anticipating, and responding to climate change.

  • Defining User Needs and Developing Research Strategy
    • Addressing Climate Change in Long-Term Water Resources Planning and Management:  User Needs for Improving Tools and Information. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Bureau of Reclamation have published a report, "Addressing Climate Change in Long-Term Water Resources Planning and Management: User Needs for Improving Tools and Information," that identifies the needs of local, state, and federal water management agencies for climate change information and tools to support long-term planning. The report seeks to focus research and technology efforts to address information and tools needed for longer-term water resources planning and management. See our news release 1/11/2011.

    • CCAWWG agencies' research response to long term needs The USGS and NOAA are jointly leading an interagency effort to prepare a companion research response document that will frame each information need with suggested scientific approaches and considerations that can serve to guide the scientific community in the design of future research to address these needs
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    • Addressing Climate Variability in Short-term Water Resources Planning and Management: User Needs for Improving Tools and Information. Reclamation and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers have begun work on a companion document to the "Long Term User Needs" document which will describe water managers' needs for information to better manage water resources under short-term climate variability and change.The improved ability to forecast and use climate variability information would greatly enhance the ability of water managers and water uses to plan their short-term operations and water delivery schedules. The influence of climate change on short-term climate variability is an additional factor that is now central to this area of concern.

    • CCAWWG agencies' research response to short term needs. Similar to the long-term needs document, the USGS and NOAA plan to jointly lead an interagency effort to prepare a companion research response document that will frame each information need with suggested scientific approaches and considerations that can serve to guide the scientific community in the design of future research to address these needs.

  • Workshop on Nonstationarity, Hydrologic Frequency Analysis, and Water Management January 13-15, 2010 Boulder, Colorado Colorado Water Institute Information Series No. 109 (pdf 10 MB)
    Uncertainty is a given in water resources planning. This workshop discussed how water management agencies should plan and manage water resources in the face of nonstationarity, and formed a coordinated action plan to help the agencies move forward. See the Colorado Water Institute.

  • Assessing a Portfolio of Approaches for Producing Climate Change Information to Support Adaptation Decisions. A CCAWWG sponsored workshop conducted in November 2010 to help characterize the strengths, limitations, variability, and uncertainties of various approaches to produce and use climate change information to inform US Federal water resources adaptation planning and operations.  Decisions about climate change adaptation measures to enhance the resilience of the infrastructure, planning, and operation of water-related resources in the US require reliable information about the variability and uncertainty of probable climate change effects at the spatiotemporal scales where the decisions are taken.  Workshop report is being prepared.

  • Training--continuing education to develop core competencies. In the early stages of working with USACE, NOAA, USGS, EPA, DOI Climate Science Centers, NOAA RISA Centers, and others to develop and implement a continuing education program that will enable water resource practitioners to develop core competencies for integrating climate information into water resource technical investigations and planning studies.

DOI Climate Science Centers

In 2010, the Department of the Interior established Climate Science Centers at competitively selected universities that will enable our nation’s academic expertise to play a larger role in addressing climate change science challenges and Landscape Conservation Cooperatives that help foster resource management and science partnerships across regional landscapes. The Research and Development Office and our CCAWWG network are establishing ways to collaborate with these new Interior entities as we move forward with our research goals.

Coordinating our Efforts

Reclamation's WaterSMART Program also awards grants to universities, non-profit research institutions, and other organizations with water or power delivery authority that support the development of climate analysis tools. The priority research areas in this Funding Opportunity Announcement were coordinated with the long-term research areas from the Long Term document.

Improving the Coordination of Federal Climate and Water Resource Science Effort:
Focus on the Colorado River Basin.
A CCAWWG-sponsored workshop conducted in March 2010 to foster increased coordination across the federal agencies making investments in watershed sciences and climate impacts. The Colorado River Watershed was selected as a focus for the discussions to take advantage of the existing momentum around actual studies and efforts already in motion across a broad spectrum of many federals programs.