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.

part I|1 pages

Section I Overview and Background

chapter 1|15 pages

Introduction: The Context for Western Water Policy and Planning

ByKathleen A. Miller, Alan F. Hamlet, Douglas S. Kenney

chapter 2|26 pages

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

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

part |1 pages

Section II Water Policy Issues Related to Climate Variability and Change

chapter 3|20 pages

Key Legal Issues in Western Water Management and Climate Adaptation

ByDenise D. Fort

chapter 5|26 pages

Protection and Restoration of Freshwater Ecosystems

ByBrian D. Richter, Emily Maynard Powell, Tyler Lystash, Michelle Faggert

chapter 7|18 pages

Support for Drought Response and Community Preparedness

Filling the Gaps between Plans and Action
ByKelly Helm Smith, Crystal J. Stiles, Michael J. Hayes, Christopher J. Carparelli

chapter 8|21 pages

Providing Climate Science to Real-World Policy Decisions

A Scientist’s View from the Trenches
ByAndrea J. Ray

chapter 9|22 pages

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

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

part |1 pages

Section III Case Studies

chapter 11|16 pages

California, a State of Extremes

Management Framework for Present-Day and Future Hydroclimate Extremes
ByJeanine Jones

chapter 12|16 pages

California’s Sacramento–San Joaquin Delta

Reflections on Science, Policy, Institutions, and Management in the Anthropocene
ByRichard B. Norgaard

chapter 13|21 pages

California’s Climate Change Response Strategy

Integrated Policy and Planning for Water, Energy, and Land
ByRobert C. Wilkinson

chapter 16|26 pages

Climate Change and Allocation Institutions in the Colorado River Basin

ByJason Anthony Robison

chapter 17|31 pages

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

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

chapter 18|14 pages

Integration of Surface Water and Groundwater Rights

Colorado’s Experience
ByThomas V. Cech

chapter 19|15 pages

Floods as Unnatural Disasters

The Role of Law *
BySandra B. Zellmer, Christine A. Klein

chapter 20|20 pages

Adaptive Management and Governance Lessons from a Semiarid River Basin

A Platte River Case Study
ByChadwin B. Smith, Jason M. Farnsworth, David M. Baasch, Jerry F. Kenny