Tools For Drought Management Water Management in the face of droughts

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Tools For Drought Management

  • Water Management in the face of droughts

  • require

      • Skilful Hydrologic Forecasting/Simulation Tool
          • Statistical or Hydrologic Models (PRMS, SWAT, etc.)
          • for ~seasonal time scales
          • Stochastic Flow Simulation tools for longer term (multi-year, decades) planning and management
      • Decision Support tool of the agriculture/water resources system
          • RiverWare

Seasonal Streamflow Forecast/ Simulation

  • Hydrologic Models

    • PRMS, SWAT
  • Statistical Models

    • Nonlinear Regression approach for ensemble forecasts
    • [incorporating large-scale land-ocean-atmospheric information, Grantz et al., 2005; Regonda et al., 2006]
    • Skilful, provides uncertainty estimates via ensembles

Truckee / Carson Basin - Application

  • Study Area

    • Hydroclimatology, Management
  • Spring Streamflow Forecast Models

    • [incorporating large-scale land-ocean-atmospheric information, Grantz et al., 2005]
  • Decision Support Model

  • Drive the streamflow forecast through the decision model. Investigate skills in the decision variables

Average Monthly Flows

Management Issues

  • Irrigation/Agriculture decisions on the Newland Irrigation district are made in Feb much before the peak flow occurs

  • So, skilful long-lead seasonal streamflow forecasts on Truckee and Carson Rivers are required

  • Forecasts determine

    • How storage targets will be met
    • on the Lahonton reservoir for
    • irrigation
    • How much water to divert
    • from Truckee to Carson via
    • the Truckee Canal
    • How much water will be
    • available for Irrigation

Decision Variables

RiverWare – River and Reservoir Decision Support System

Truckee-Carson RiverWare Model

Winter Climate Link

  • Identified large scale land-ocean-atmosphere predictors for Truckee/Carson spring (April-June total) streamflow

  • Used a Nonlinear regression framework (local polynomials) to generate ensemble of spring streamflow forecasts

  • Forecasts issued on the 1st of each month starting from Nov 1st through April 1st

  • Skills evaluated using correlation coefficient and RPSS

  • (RPSS = 1 implies categorical forecast, 0, no better than climatology)

Forecasting Results

Forecast Ensembles are Used to drive the Decision Support System for the Truckee/Carson Baisn (Forecast skills of the decision variables evaluated)

Decision Model Results

Dry Year: 1994

Wet Year: 1993

Normal Year: 2003

Exceedance Probabilities


  • Developed a streamflow forecast framework incorporating large-scale ocean-atmospheric-land variables

  • Skilful long-lead streamflow forecasts obtained on the Truckee/Carson river basin ~4-5 months ahead of the spring peak flow

  • Developed a Decision Support System that incorporates all the management aspects of the water resources system

  • Skilful streamflow forecasts translated into skills in the decision variables – especially the amount of flow available for irrigation

  • The Integrated streamflow-Decision Support System provides a robust framework for effective management of droughts both in the

  • short and longer time scales

  • Streamflow scenarios can be generated conditioned on climate change, land use change, water use change etc. and management/decision strategies evaluated

Acknowledgements Ms. Katrina Grantz for USBR Truckee Office for financial support of this study CADSWES for computation and logistics support

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