Title

Climate Change and the Payette River Basin

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date

4-12-2010

Abstract

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Report on Climate Change and Water (Bates et al. 2008) identified the need to address the impacts of climate change at a scale applicable to the management of water resources. The Payette River basin, located in central Idaho, is a major tributary of the Snake River and contains three significant dams: the Black Canyon Dam (1924), Deadwood Dam (1931), and Cascade Dam (1948). The dams along the Payette River are operated by the Payette Division of the United States Bureau of Reclamation’s (USBR) Boise Project. Storage, which exceeds 800,000 acrefeet, provides irrigation for some of the most economically productive farmland in Idaho. This research seeks to answer the question of how robust the current water resource system is to handle future climate change and asks how climate changes compares with other factors influencing water resource planning. This research uses a local water resource management tool, the Snake River Planning Model (SRPM), to assess the impacts of climate change. We found that current water resource management practices in the Payette River basin are robust enough to handle the impacts of climate change at least through 2050. However, urbanization and increased flood risks with climate change will need to be addressed when considering the sustainable development of the basin.

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