Completed Basin Studies

The following Basin Studies have been completed.

Truckee Water Management Option Pilot Viability Assessment

The Water Management Option Pilots (WMOPs) are funded under the WaterSMART Basin Study Program and are follow-on studies to a completed Basin Study. The Truckee Viability Assessment WMOP builds on the Truckee Basin Study. The Truckee WMOP evaluates alternatives to the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) 1985 Truckee Basin Water Control Manual (WCM) and identifies an approach to improve future basin operations. These include proposed revisions to operational guide curves using modern guidelines and extended hydrologic datasets; using forecast informed reservoir operations (FIRO) to increase operational flexibility and responsiveness to current conditions; increasing the Reno flood flow target in response to infrastructure upgrades (raising Stampede reservoir’s crest, bridge replacements, levees, bank stabilization), modeling improvements, and the lack of observed flood damage at and above the current flood flow target; and re-distributing the flood space within Stampede and Boca Reservoirs to minimize downstream flooding risks.

Truckee Basin Study

The Truckee Basin headwaters begin around Lake Tahoe. The basin includes the Truckee and Carson rivers and Pyramid Lake and encompasses the cities of Carson City, Reno and Sparks, as well as Reclamation's Newlands Project, all in Nevada.

Upper Red River Basin Study

The Upper Red River Basin Study began in 2014 and was completed in 2023 at a cost of $3.0 million. The study developed new ground and surface water models to quantify water supplies and demands affecting two Reclamation reservoirs in southwest Oklahoma: Lugert-Altus and Tom Steed Reservoirs. The study identified a range of infrastructure, operational, administrative, and legal strategies to improve water supply reliability of the two reservoirs.

West Salt River Basin Study

The study indicates the demand for water in the area will increase over time,and without new supplies, imbalances between renewable supply and demand will also grow. This study will help water managers determine water resource management priorities and investments in the future. Reclamation partnered with the West Valley Water Association to complete the study.

American River Basin Study

The American River Basin in central California expects to see increasing temperatures and a declining snowpack through the end of the 21st century. The Bureau of Reclamation released the American River Basin Study today, which also found an increased variability of fall and winter precipitation that will amplify the severity of droughts and flooding in the basin. The American River Basin Study was released in August 2022.

Pecos River – New Mexico Basin Study

The Pecos River – New Mexico Basin Study was released in October 2021. The study was conducted in partnership with the New Mexico Interstate Stream Commission and evaluated how changes in temperature, precipitation, evaporation, and irrigation demands may affect the basin hydrology and developed potential adaptation strategies to address projected gaps between water supply and demand.

Missouri Headwaters Basin Study

The Missouri Headwaters Basin Study, conducted by the Bureau of Reclamation and the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation, was released in August 2021. The Study provides options to meet the increased water demand and change in the timing of snowmelt runoff in the Missouri River Basin above Fort Peck Reservoir.

Colorado River Basin Study

The Colorado River Basin Study was released in December 2012. The Study was conducted by Reclamation in collaboration with the seven basin states and a broad range of stakeholders including tribes, agricultural users, purveyors of municipal and industrial water, power users, and conservation and recreation groups. The Study defines current and future imbalances in water supply and demand in the Basin, as well as adjacent areas of the Basin States that receive Colorado River water through 2060, and analyzes an array of potential adaptation and mitigation strategies to resolve these imbalances.

Henrys Fork Basin Study

The Henry’s Fork Basin Study, collaboratively developed by Reclamation and the Idaho Water Resource Board, was released in January 2015. The Study assessed current and future water supply and demand in the Henry’s Fork Basin, and discussed a range of potential strategies to address these projected imbalances. The most promising strategies identified over the course of the Study fell into three major categories: surface storage, managed groundwater recharge, and water conservation.

Hood River

The Hood River Basin Study, conducted by the Bureau of Reclamation, Hood River County, and the Hood River County Water Planning Group, was released in November 2015. Demands placed on the Basin’s water supplies include potable water, hydropower, habitat needs ESA-listed fish species, recreation, and scenic value – these demands are expected to increase as population in the Basin rises. Moreover, between 50 and 70 percent of flow during critical periods comes from glacial melt, which is projected to cease once Mt. Hood’s glaciers recede. This Study developed projections of future supply and demand imbalances in the Basin, and developed an array of strategies to address these imbalances, largely focusing on water conservation, groundwater recharge, and surface water storage.

Klamath River Basin Study

The Klamath River Basin Study, developed by the Bureau of Reclamation, the State of California Department of Water Resources, and the State of Oregon Water Resources Department, was released in August 2019. Demands placed on the Klamath River have historically included irrigation, fisheries, and hydropower needs, and demands are projected to increase relative to supply in the future. The Study took a comprehensive approach to evaluate historical and projected future water supply and demand over the entire Klamath watershed, and identified a range of strategies to best address these imbalances and meet users’ needs in the Basin.

Los Angeles Basin Study

The Los Angeles Basin Study was released on Nov. 17, 2016. It looks at the changing demographics, climate change and competing interests for available water supplies and identifies options to meet the water needs of the Los Angeles area into the future. The study found that there is a potential water supply deficit for the region of approximately 160,000 acre-feet-per year by 2035 and 440,000 acre-feet-per-year or 25-percent less water than the region is projected to need in 2095.

Lower Rio Grande Basin Study

The Lower Rio Grande Basin Study, developed by the Bureau of Reclamation in collaboration with the Rio Grande Regional Water Authority, was released in December 2013. The Study projected severe water supply and demand imbalances through 2060, leading to a likely decrease in water delivery reliability. To address these projected imbalances, the Study developed strategies to reduce dependence on the Rio Grande that cover the projected shortfall, protect existing water rights, are compatible with relevant laws and regulations, and are implementable by the Study sponsors.

Niobrara Basin Study

The Niobrara River Basin Study (Basin Study) engages a broad spectrum of stakeholders to explore complex water management issues in a collaborative setting with the Bureau of Reclamation (Reclamation) and the Nebraska Department of Natural Resources. The Basin Study provided an opportunity for Reclamation and Nebraska Department of Natural Resources to attend a series of meetings with stakeholders to discuss resource challenges. These meetings offered a venue for gathering input, addressing concerns, and exploring shared responsibilities. Discussions ranged from important on-the-ground field experiences to high-level technical perspectives. A number of varied interests were represented at stakeholder meetings, including irrigation, drinking water supply, fish and wildlife, hydropower, and recreation.

Republican River Basin Study

The Republican River Basin Study identifies adaptation strategies that address water management challenges in the basin. This study, which includes a study area of 2.7 million acres of irrigated agriculture served primarily by groundwater supplies, represents an extensive collaborative effort among Colorado, Nebraska and Kansas.

St. Mary and Milk Rivers Basin Study

The St. Mary and Milk Rivers Basin Study Summary Report was released on June 28, 2012. It outlines the findings of a two-year comprehensive study of the river basins. The report recommends using and enhancing the new river system model developed through this study to further analyze alternatives to address supply and demand issues in the basins, including Tribal and international issues.

Sacramento and San Joaquin Rivers Basin Study

This study, collaboratively developed by Reclamation, the State of California Department of Water Resources, El Dorado County Water Agency, Stockton East Water District, California Partnership for the San Joaquin Valley and Madera County Resource Management Agency, examines climate change impacts and adaptation actions for the Sacramento River Basin, San Joaquin River Basin and the Tulare Lake Basin.

Santa Ana Watershed Basin Study

The Santa Ana River Watershed Basin Study addresses water supply and demand projections for the next 50 years and identifies potential climate change impacts to Southern California's Santa Ana River Watershed. This study is a first of its kind for the predominantly urban basin. It encompasses approximately 2,600 square miles in Orange, Riverside and San Bernardino counties and is home to more than 6 million residents.

Santa Fe Basin Study

The Santa Fe Basin Study identifies shortages in the water supply and potential adaptation strategies to meet the water needs described in the basin’s 40-year water demand projections. The area’s population is expected to increase about 80 percent by 2055 and, unless action is taken, would be expected to result in a shortfall of about 5,155 acre-feet of water per year, the amount of water that provides for more than 20,000 people. When different climate change scenarios were incorporated into the study, water shortfalls of between 6,342 acre-feet to 9,323 acre-feet per year were projected.

Southeast California Regional Basin Study

The Southeast California Regional Basin Study, developed by the Bureau of Reclamation and the Borrego Water District, with input from the Coachella Valley Water District and the Imperial Irrigation District, was released in September 2015. The Study addressed current and future supply and demand imbalances in the Coachella, Borrego, and Imperial Valleys, finding that supply has and will likely remain static while demand is projected to grow. The Study identified a range of structural and non-structural strategies to address these imbalances, focusing on collaborative, stakeholder-driven strategies.

Upper Deschutes Basin Study

More than 100 years ago, federal and state policies encouraged the settlement of Central Oregon's high desert by facilitating access to land and irrigation water. This water helped support the diverse agriculture that has been so important in the region. However, unintended consequences of this water development left many rivers and streams with low or altered flows. As the region grew, the Deschutes Basin experienced increased demand for water for people, cities, farmers, and fish and wild life. For the last two decades, irrigation districts, agencies, and conservation groups have worked together to address these issues. In 2014, a diverse group of 40 stakeholders -- the Basin Study Work Group – got together to work on the Upper Deschutes Basin Study. The $1.5 million Study is funded by the Bureau of Reclamation and the State of Oregon. The group has successfully co-managed the Study throughout its three-year duration -- a demonstration of the commitment to collaboration in the Deschutes Basin.

Yakima River Basin Study

The Yakima River Basin Study, developed by the Bureau of Reclamation and the Washington State Department of Ecology, was released in August 2011. The Study addressed a variety of water supply and management issues within the Yakima River Basin affecting fish, agriculture, and municipal water supplies. The Study recommended a broad approach to address these imbalances, incorporating strategies including fish passage, structural and operational changes, surface water storage, groundwater storage, habitat protection and enhancement, enhanced water conservation, and market-based reallocation.

Last Updated: 4/17/24