Reclamation releases water reliability in the
The 2021 SECURE Water Act Report provides an assessment of
climate change impacts and discusses changes and innovative
actions that are being undertaken in each of the eight major
river basins in the West
For Release: January 19, 2021
WASHINGTON – The Bureau of
Reclamation released a summary report providing an assessment of
climate change impacts to water uses in the West, including
adding a new set of West-wide information based on
paleohydrology. The Water Reliability in the West - 2021 SECURE
Water Act Report discusses changes and innovative actions across
the eight basins identified in the SECURE Water Act.
The report describes Reclamation's
collaborative actions to increase water and power delivery
reliability since the last SECURE Water Act Report in 2016,
including science and research, planning, infrastructure
sustainability, efficient hydropower production and
on-the-ground activities to meet irrigation needs and water
needed for municipalities, power, tribes and the environment.
"Our water supply and delivery systems are impacted by changing
hydrologic conditions, competing demands and demographics," Commissioner
Brenda Burman said. "Reclamation is using the
best-available science to carry out its mission while also
collaborating with its water and power customers, states and
local agencies and tribes to address critical western water
The report finds that temperatures are expected to increase in
all eight basins while precipitation changes are variable. With
warmer temperatures more precipitation will fall mostly as rain
and snow will melt sooner, leading to snowpack declines into the
future, which will impact streamflow timing. These key findings
on future climate and hydrology are consistent with the
conclusions of the 2016 SECURE Water Act Report.
Paleohydrology has been added as a source of information that
helped inform the 2021 report. Paleohydrology shows how water
supply has varied over past centuries using tree-ring
reconstruction and other methods. Using this information,
Reclamation can better assess whether distant droughts, going
back several hundreds of years, were more similar to or greater
than observed droughts in the past century, providing an
extended history to understand future risks.
Also new to the 2021 report is a West-wide drought analysis.
Using the paleohydrology records, Reclamation and its study
partners evaluated dry and wet period characteristics and
analyzed chances of shifting between wet and dry patterns. These
analyses will provide a framework for drought planning and help
managers develop water management alternatives in time to take
Reclamation is collaborating with its customers, stakeholders
and other partners to develop appropriate mitigation strategies
to increased risks of drought and changes to precipitation,
runoff and increased temperatures. These strategies include:
Supporting reliable water deliveries through construction
activities, water management improvements, diversifying
supplies through water reuse and ground and surface water
Improving hydropower generation capability, flexibility and
reliability through new advanced decision support tools to
maximize the amount of power produced with available water
supplies and new technologies to keep hydropower plants
Maintaining healthy ecosystems and protecting federally
listed fish, wildlife, plants and designated critical
habitat affected by Reclamation facilities through a range
of programs and activities.
Addressing drought risks by proactively building resilience
as the severity, duration and frequency of drought
The SECURE Water Act Report released today is available at www.usbr.gov/climate.
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Department of the Interior and is the nation's largest wholesale
water supplier and second largest producer of hydroelectric
power. Our facilities also provide substantial flood control,
recreation opportunities, and environmental benefits. Visit our
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