Columbia River Basin Impacts Assessment

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Aerial View of Columbia River coming from Grand Coulee Dam

The Columbia River Basin Impacts Assessment is an activity of the West Wide Climate Risk Assessments (WWCRA), which is part of the Bureau of Reclamation’s WaterSMART Basin Study Program. This Program is authorized to address Section 9503 of the SECURE Water Act and Secretarial Orders 3289 and 3297 supporting the Department of Interior’s coordinated response to the changing climate and the WaterSMART Program.

SECURE authorizes Reclamation to assess the impacts of climate change on water supplies (including snowpack, surface water and ground water) and demands by evaluating the following components of SECURE in major Western United States basins:

  • water delivery
  • flooding
  • recreation at Reclamation facilities
  • hydropower
  • fish and wildlife habitat
  • species listed as endangered, threatened or candidates under ESA
  • water quality (including salinity as it applies to water quality)
  • flow and water dependent ecological resiliency

Impacts Assessments establish baseline risks to water supplies and demands in Reclamation river basins to establish a foundation for more in-depth analyses and the development of adaptation strategies. The information determined in an Impacts Assessment is used as a foundation to Basin Studies, operations planning, feasibility level analyses, or any other activity that can benefit from the results.

The Assessment will result in a better understanding the potential impacts of climate change on the eight components identified in SECURE in the Columbia River Basin. The Assessment was initiated in June 2013 and is expected to completed in December 2015.

Study Documents  
03/2016 Columbia River Basin Climate Impact Assessment Final Report HTML
08/2014 Columbia River Basin Study Areas Map PDF 421 kb
04/2014 Schedule PDF 372 kb
03/2014 Scope of Work PDF 68 kb

Related Links
RMJOC Climate Change Study Change
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
Downscaled CMIP3 and CMIP5 Climate and Hydrology Projections
National Climate Assessment


Carri Hessman
Program Manager
(208) 378-5106

Bureau of Reclamation
Pacific Northwest Regional Office
1150 North Curtis Road, Suite 100
Boise, Idaho 83706-1234

Last Updated: 6/25/19