Short-Term Water Management Decisions: User Needs for Improved Climate, Weather and Hydrologic Information

This report, "Short-Term Water Management Decisions: User Needs for Improved Climate, Weather, and Hydrologic Information," is the second in a series of reports by USACE and Reclamation that identify how information supporting water resources management decision-making can be improved. The generation of this series of reports is motivated by the potential impact that climate change may have on water resources. Adapting to these impacts include potential enhancements in short-term water resource management decisions through improvements in hydroclimate monitoring and prediction as well as in how information is utilized within management decision processes.

This report is structured to first introduce how the Federal agencies are working together to identify and respond to the needs of water resources management in the changing climate. The introduction is followed by a description of the agency roles of the two largest Federal water resource agencies, USACE and Reclamation, as well as the major provider or weather information, the National Weather Service (NWS), in the short-term water management decisions. A description of the short-term water management decision processes within USACE and Reclamation is then provided, including how decisions are influenced by assumptions of climate change and variability. This is followed by a presentation of the types of monitoring and forecast information that is available to support water resources management as well as a discussion on the characteristics and constraints on the development and use of this information.

The report concludes with a description of how information is currently used by USACE and Reclamation within its short-term water resource management activities through a presentation of an operators use assessment. Assessment results are utilized to identify user needs and gaps in information currently available. Ultimately, this document is meant to lead to identification of opportunities to improve water resources management by communicating to the broad community of information providers and the research and development communities the needs of the management agencies within the mission authorities currently available.