NIDIS Upper Colorado River Basin Pilot project

With the goal to provide information useful for managing current drought risks and for adapting to changing climate, this project aims to fill the gaps in the knowledge about the variations in water demand patterns in the Upper Colorado River Basin (UCRB) in response to climate variability.  Specific objectives of the project included: 1) assessing knowledge gaps in the UCRB water demand information at the local scale; 2) analyzing spatial and temporal patterns in water demand across the study domain; 3) examining topological relationships among water users and their respective sources; and 4) linking spatial (and non-spatial) information on water demand to water supply to assess potential impacts of drought on water users.  A major component of this activity focused on development of a method and a set of tools for spatially modeling water demand with available data at spatial scales to support decision making. The study resulted in a geodatabase and a data model (i.e., NIDIS Water Demand data model) that provides a scalable, flexible approach for estimation of water demand. This data model also supports explicit topological relationships among water users and their respective source or sources of water supply. To ensure transferability, the geodatabase and automated geoprocessing tools for estimating water demand and highlighting vulnerable water users are currently being tested in other basins in the state of Colorado. 


Olga Wilhelmi (NCAR/RAL)
Kevin Sampson (NCAR/RAL)
Jennifer Boehnert (NCAR/RAL)
Kathleen Miller (NCAR/RAL)