#ClimateChange impacting future water management — Ouray County Plain Dealer


From the Ouray County Plain Dealer (Dalton Carver

Nearly 40 million people in the seven Colorado River basin states rely on the body of water and its tributaries, including the Gunnison, for their water needs.

However, climate change is being blamed for creating an imbalance in western water that could impact how Colorado River water is managed.

If the imbalance is left unchecked, it could impair the ability of the Colorado River to fulfill the needs of the almost 40 million people it sustains.

The 2016 SECURE report built upon the original basin studies that were published at the end of 2012.
The climate change data, gathered by an Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change assessment, identified milestones, such as a temperature increase of five to seven degrees by the end of the century, as much as a seven percent decrease in April and July streamflow in several river basins and a decrease of precipitation over the southwest and south central areas of the country.

“A whole bunch of global climate models that are run by various research institutions are part of putting that together,” said Carly Jerla, a BuRec leader on the Colorado River Basin study. “[The Bureau of] Reclamation teamed up with those groups to take those projections and downscale them into hydrology stream flows we can then use to do projections on how our river systems operate with those kind of climate change adjusted flows in place.”

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