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Corps, Bureau Report Identifies Climate Change Research Needed For Water Resource Planning
Posted on Friday, January 14, 2011 (PST)

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.


"Climate change impacts to water and water-dependent resources challenge water management agencies throughout the country," said Reclamation Commissioner Michael Connor. "Close collaboration by water resource managers and scientists will improve the tools and information needed to help make future decisions that support the sustainable use of water."


The report seeks to focus research and technology efforts to address information and tool gaps needed for longer-term water resources planning and management. It found there were gaps in the information and tools to help water managers in how to use climate change information to make decisions, how to assess the responses of natural systems to climate change, and how to communicate the results and uncertainties of climate change to decision-makers.


"This document takes a step toward communicating a collective expression of needs from the water resources community to the science community," added U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Director of Civil Works Steve Stockton. "We hope the science community will rally around these needs with collaborative research and fill the gaps that have been identified."


Climate change data may be incorporated into longer-term water resources using various methods. This report uses eight technical steps to categorize the information and tool gaps:


1.Summarize Relevant Literature

2.Obtain Climate Change Information

3.Make Decisions About How to Use the Climate Change Information

4.Assess Natural Systems Response

5.Assess Socioeconomic and Institutional Response

6.Assess System Risks and Evaluate Alternatives

7.Assess and Characterize Uncertainties

8.Communicating Results and Uncertainties to Decision-makers


The report was prepared by technical specialists from the Corps and Bureau as part of the Climate Change and Water Working Group, comprised of the two water management agencies plus the two major science agencies: the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the United States Geological Survey. Other members of the interagency working group include the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.


The report is available online at


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