Climate and Managed Water Systems

FY2019 ACCOMPLISHMENTS

The Moffatt tunnel, which brings trans basin water from the west side of the continental divide into the South Platte River basin where it serves agriculture and municipal water uses for the population of the Colorado Front Range.
The Moffatt tunnel, which brings trans basin water from the west side of the continental divide into the South Platte River basin where it serves agriculture and municipal water uses for the population of the Colorado Front Range.
 

Municipal Water Systems

Calibrated and Validated the WEAP Headwaters Model through the extension of the domain to include the South Platte River Basin, its tributaries, and the water supply and demand elements in this domain. Developed detailed water demand elements along the Colorado Front Range, and refined analysis for Colorado Springs Utilities and Denver Water.

With this model, we analyzed two water systems of particular interest for these utilities, including the Upper Blue River and the Fraser River, where infrastructure planning in the face of future climate uncertainty was explored. The figure on the right shows the Moffatt tunnel, where the utility is making investments and asking if current capacities of pipelines are adequate. (Moffatt Figure)

We trained of Denver Water and Colorado Springs Utilities staff on the use and application of the WEAP-HW model. Training was conducted throughout the year; and included how to build water systems models and incorporate current and future climate projections. The figure below shows the Fraser River basins and the Denver Water collection system. (Fraser Figure)

Climate Change and Lake Tanganyika

As part of a World Bank Project,we deployed a Regional Climate Modeling (RCM) over the broader domain of the East Africa Great Lakes and Ethiopia (EAGLE) to understand how rainfall, winds, temperature, moisture, etc. may change across the region in response to global climate change. In addition to running the regional climate simulation, an integrated hydrological model of the river systems that feed Lake Tanganyika and a water balance model of the lake itself has been developed based on the Water Evaluation and Planning (WEAP) system. The WEAP model is used to simulate streamflow and other hydrologic variables on a monthly basis for a 65 year historic period (1950 to 2015) and to the end of the 21st century with forcing from a collection of 12 Global Climate Model (GCM) datasets and the WRF dataset.  The figure below shows the graphical user interface for the WEAP-Lake Tanganyika model, with the time series of the historic lake levels included.

Climate Smart Agriculture

For a World Bank Project on climate smart agriculture, we developed an agriculture sector model for the South African state of Lesotho, where we explored drivers of change that affect agricultures metrics that include productivity, resilience, and mitigative capacity.

 

Schematic of the Water Evaluation and Planning (WEAP) decision support tool used to explore the vulnerability of the Denver Water collection system of the Fraser River to climate variability and change.
Schematic of the Water Evaluation and Planning (WEAP) decision support tool used to explore the vulnerability of the Denver Water collection system of the Fraser River to climate variability and change. 

PLANS FOR FY2020

US Water Systems

Through a new DOE project, we will continue to advance the SW WEAP model for water-energy nexus analysis. We are working collaboratively with the Lawrence Berkley National LAB on this effort, where we will explore in depth, how hydropower and energy demand influences electric energy investment strategies into the future across the southwestern US.

Continued training session for water utility staff on the use of the use of WEAP-HW

Finish a peer review paper with utilities on seasonal forecasting work; and the use of the WEAP-HW model in their integrated water resource planning process (IWRP).

Continue to work with Denver Water and Colorado Springs Utilities to advance WEAP-HW model to extend the South Platte portion of the model to the Colorado-Nebraska border.

Improvements and new applications will include:

  • We will continue to work with Denver Water and Colorado Springs Utilities to develop and apply weather typing to explore current and future extreme events in Denver Water’s supply and demand regions, and then demonstrate how changes in extremes might impact Denver Water through simulation with the WEAP-HW water systems model.
  • We are analyzing the how the regional climate modeling projections done as part of the Water Cycle project manifest themselves in the form of hydrology changes in the Upper Colorado River basin. This includes the regional climate simulations of the “historic” climate and those derived from the Pseudo Global Warming (PGW) experiments.
  • Addition of the water infrastructure of the new elements of the South Platte Basin and the Upper Colorado, such as local reservoirs and diversions. There is particular interest in looking at conditional water rights within the context of climate variability and change.

 

The WEAP schematic of the Lake Tanganyika region, showing the historic time series of lake levels from 1950 to 2016.
The WEAP schematic of the Lake Tanganyika region, showing the historic time series of lake levels from 1950 to 2016.

Water Resources and Mining

As part of the environment stewardship program Newmont-Goldcorp is working with NCAR to develop water systems models for select mine sites in order to advance their watershed-based targets in the face of future climate change. The project will explore the risks and opportunities that exist within the local and regional watersheds, where we will model the physical, regulatory and reputation risks using WEAP. To provide additional context on how water risks translate to operations, NCAR will work with Newmont to frame the challenges and opportunities for water management adaptation for select sites.

Lake Tanganyika

We will be conducting a regional climate modeling workshop with the four nation state of Lake Tanganyika that are part of the Lake Tanganyika Authority (Burundi, Tanzania, Zambia and the Democratic Republic of the Congo). The workshop will include presentations and training on the climate change science explored in the project, the climate change scenarios developed, and hands-on training on the use and application of the WEAP model developed as part of the project. (Lake Tang WEAP figure)