Water Policy and Planning in a Variable and Changing Climate  book cover
1st Edition

Water Policy and Planning in a Variable and Changing Climate

ISBN 9781482227970
Published June 6, 2016 by CRC Press
452 Pages 20 Color & 62 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

Water Policy and Planning in a Variable and Changing Climate addresses the current challenges facing western water planners and policy makers in the United States and considers strategies for managing water resources and related risks in the future. Written by highly-regarded experts in the industry, the book offers a wealth of experience, and explains the physical, socioeconomic, and institutional context for western water resource management. The authors discuss the complexities of water policy, describe the framework for water policy and planning, and identify many of the issues surrounding the subject.

A provocative examination of policy issues surrounding western water resources, this book:

  • Considers the implications of natural climate variability and anthropogenic climate change for the region’s water resources, and explains limitations on the predictability of local-scale changes
  • Stresses linkages between climate patterns and weather events, and related hydrologic impacts
  • Describes the environmental consequences of historical water system development and the challenges that climate change poses for protection of aquatic ecosystems
  • Examines coordination of drought management by local, state and national government agencies
  • Includes insights on planning for climate change adaptation from case studies across the western United States
  • Discusses the challenges and opportunities in water/energy/land system management, and its prospects for developing climate change response strategies
  • Presents evidence of changes in water scarcity and flooding potential in the region and identifies a set of adaptation strategies to support the long-term sustainability of irrigated agriculture and urban communities
  • Draws upon Colorado’s experience in defining rights for surface and tributary groundwater use to explain potential conflicts and challenges in establishing fair and effective coordination of water rights for these resources
  • Assesses the role of policy in driving flood losses
  • Explores policy approaches for achieving equitable and environmentally responsible planning outcomes despite multiple sources of uncertainty

Water Policy and Planning in a Variable and Changing Climate describes patterns of water availability, existing policy problems and the potential impacts of climate change in the western United States, and functions as a practical reference for the student or professional invested in water policy and management.

Table of Contents


Introduction: The Context for Western Water Policy and Planning
Kathleen A. Miller, Alan F. Hamlet, and Douglas S. Kenney

Natural Variability, Anthropogenic Climate Change, and Impacts on Water Availability and Flood Extremes in the Western United States

Daniel R. Cayan, Michael D. Dettinger, David Pierce, Tapash Das, Noah Knowles,
F. Martin Ralph, and Edwin Sumargo


Key Legal Issues in Western Water Management and Climate Adaptation

Denise D. Fort

The West’s Water—Multiple Uses, Conflicting Values, Interconnected Fates

David Lewis Feldman

Protection and Restoration of Freshwater Ecosystems

Brian D. Richter, Emily Maynard Powell, Tyler Lystash, and Michelle Faggert

Climate Variability and Adaptive Capacities of Intergovernmental
Arrangements: Encouraging Problem Solving and Managing Conflict

Edella Schlager

Support for Drought Response and Community Preparedness: Filling the
Gaps between Plans and Action

Kelly Helm Smith, Crystal J. Stiles, Michael J. Hayes, and Christopher J. Carparelli

Providing Climate Science to Real-World Policy Decisions: A Scientist’s
View from the Trenches

Andrea J. Ray

Using the Past to Plan for the Future—The Value of Paleoclimate
Reconstructions for Water Resource Planning

Connie A. Woodhouse, Jeffrey J. Lukas, Kiyomi Morino, David M. Meko,
and Katherine K. Hirschboeck


The Columbia River Treaty and the Dynamics of Transboundary Water
Negotiations in a Changing Environment: How Might Climate Change Alter
the Game?

Barbara Cosens, Alexander Fremier, Nigel Bankes, and John Abatzoglou

California, a State of Extremes: Management Framework for Present-Day
and Future Hydroclimate Extremes

Jeanine Jones

California’s Sacramento–San Joaquin Delta: Reflections on Science, Policy,
Institutions, and Management in the Anthropocene

Richard B. Norgaard

California’s Climate Change Response Strategy: Integrated Policy and Planning for Water, Energy, and Land

Robert C. Wilkinson

California’s Irrigated Agriculture and Innovations in Adapting to Water Scarcity

Heather Cooley

Responses of Southern California’s Urban Water Sector to Changing Stresses and Increased Uncertainty: Innovative Approaches

Celeste Cantú

Climate Change and Allocation Institutions in the Colorado River Basin

Jason A. Robison

Using Large-Scale Flow Experiments to Rehabilitate Colorado River Ecosystem Function in Grand Canyon: Basis for an Adaptive Climate-Resilient Strategy

Theodore S. Melis, William E. Pine, III, Josh Korman, Michael D. Yard, Shaleen Jain,
and Roger S. Pulwarty

Integration of Surface Water and Groundwater Rights: Colorado’s Experience

Thomas V. Cech

Floods as Unnatural Disasters: The Role of Law

Sandra B. Zellmer and Christine A. Klein

Adaptive Management and Governance Lessons from a Semiarid River
Basin: A Platte River Case Study

Chadwin B. Smith, Jason M. Farnsworth, David M. Baasch, and Jerry F. Kenny

Drought as an Opportunity for Legal and Institutional Change in Texas

Ronald Kaiser

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Kathleen A. Miller is an economist working at the National Center for Atmospheric Research, in the Climate Science and Applications Program. She conducts research on climate impacts, vulnerability, and adaptation. Her work focuses especially on natural resource governance and adaptation planning under uncertainty and on modeling interactions between human strategic behavior and dynamic natural systems. She is the author of numerous papers on the management of water, fisheries, and other natural resources in the context of climate variability and prospective climate change.

Douglas S. Kenney has been with the University of Colorado’s Getches-Wilkinson Center for Natural Resources, Energy and the Environment since 1996 where he directs the Western Water Policy Program. He researches and writes extensively on several water-related issues, including law and policy reform, river basin- and watershed-level planning, the design of institutional arrangements, water resource economics, and climate change adaptation. Dr. Kenney has also served as a consultant to a variety of local, state, multistate, and federal agencies, and has made presentations in 20 U.S. states, seven countries, and four continents.

Alan F. Hamlet is an assistant professor in the Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering & Earth Sciences, College of Engineering, at University of Notre Dame. Dr. Hamlet’s research is focused on the integrated modeling of climate variability and change, surface water hydrology, water resource systems, the built environment, and aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems. He has been actively involved in stakeholder education and outreach programs in the Pacific Northwest for many years and is a leader in the development of decision support systems and sustainable climate change adaptation strategies in the water sector.

Kelly T. Redmond is the deputy director and regional climatologist at the Western Regional Climate Center at the Desert Research Institute, Reno, Nevada. He has played an active role nationally in development of the climate services sector. Dr. Redmond is currently working on several projects for the National Integrated Drought Information System (NIDIS). He is closely involved in the NOAA Regional Integrated Sciences and Assessment (RISA) Program and the Department of Interior Climate Science Center Program. He has also served on and contributed to approximately a dozen committees for the National Academy of Sciences and National Research Council.


"… presents a synthesis of what leading scientists, lawyers, political scientists and other water professionals know about the likely adverse impacts on the region and how the West might make the hard choices to cope with its changed climate. The book covers the latest scientific understanding of climate change and its impact on the region’s hydrology. It gives equal weight to both ends of the risk spectrum—stressed water availability for consumptive and non-consumptive environmental uses as well as more extreme flood events. essential reading for all water professionals and anyone interested in the fate of the American West."
—Dan Tarlock, Chicago-Kent College of Law, Illinois Institute of Technology, USA

"We have always lived with considerable variability in water supply in the western United States. Now the range of uncertainty in water supply planning has increased markedly as a consequence of climate change. This new book provides valuable contributions from a wide array of perspectives to help us better understand the challenges we now face and the responses that will be necessary under these conditions."
—Lawrence J. MacDonnell, Senior Fellow, Getches-Wilkinson Center, University of Colorado, Boulder, USA

"… the contributors embrace uncertainty in the physical and social systems shaping future water options. This is liberating because it enables new ways of thinking about adaptively managing water sector risks under climate change. They also provide well-grounded and thoughtful critiques of the most significant technical and policy challenges ahead. Most importantly, they give hope to those faced with the daunting task of reforming water planning by giving plenty of examples of how this can be done in practice."
—Professor Robert L. Wilby, Department of Geography, Loughborough University, Leicestershire, UK