WASHINGTON – The Bureau of Reclamation has released its Climate Change Adaptation Strategy that outlines how Reclamation will combat climate change. The strategy also affirms Reclamation will use leading science and engineering to adapt to human-caused climate change.
"Climate change is impacting our communities, economies and the environment throughout the West," said Reclamation Commissioner Camille Calimlim Touton. "Through this strategy, Reclamation will work collaboratively with our federal and non-federal partners and incorporate climate change into our water and power management decisions to minimize climate change's impacts on western water into the future."
The strategy focuses on four goals:
- Increase water management flexibility – including improvements to reservoir operations and hydropower generation efficiency, development of water treatment and water conservation technologies to relieve water scarcity and advancing applications in watershed monitoring and forecasting to provide better decision-support.
- Enhance climate adaptation planning – including engagement with water and power stakeholders to build climate resilience and provide financial assistance through WaterSMART programs, and development of guidance to better account for climate change in planning and related environmental reviews, tailored for situations in long-term resource management, new infrastructure, asset management, operations and maintenance, dam safety, aquatic restoration and more.
- Improve infrastructure resilience – Reclamation will embark on strategic activities in hydropower, dam safety, infrastructure investments and innovation, ensuring its infrastructure continues to provide benefits well into the future.
- Expand information sharing – including working with partners to develop quality-assured climate change information and then making that information publicly available for different resource management situations.
The strategy supports the implementation of President Biden's Executive Order on Protecting Public Health and the Environment and Restoring Science to Tackle the Climate Crisis and Executive Order on Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad. It also aligns with Secretarial Order on Department-wide Approach to the Climate Crisis and Restoring Transparency and Integrity to the Decision-Making Process. Finally, it is consistent with the Department of the Interior's Climate Adaptation and Resilience Plan.
Reclamation's 2021 West-wide Climate and Hydrology Assessment identified the human-induced climate change impacts expected to impact the West through the rest of this century. It identifies changes in temperature, precipitation, snowpack and streamflow across the West.
You can read the entire Climate Change Adaptation Strategy at www.usbr.gov/climate.