diagram of lake mead pool elevations

Funding Agency
Bureau of Reclamation

Research Team

  • David Woodson, PhD candidate
  • R. Balaji, principal investigator

This research investigates the hydroclimate of the Colorado River Basin and seeks to improve forecasts of midterm flow projections with one- to ten-year lead times. In other words, how much water might there be in the Colorado River and its massive reservoirs for a given year, two years, five years or 10 years from now? What is the range of possible extremes? And how can such forecasts aid water management planning for both the short and long term?

A variety of statistical methods are implemented to generate streamflow simulations and projections based on historical streamflow data as well as historic and projected climate variables, such as precipitation and temperature. The Colorado River is a key source of water for tens of millions in the Western U.S., as well as for agriculture and natural systems. Understanding and better predicting the natural variability of the Colorado River and how that already volatile variability will be influenced by climatic changes will become increasingly important as both population and temperatures rise.