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Water 2018, 10(10), 1490; https://doi.org/10.3390/w10101490

Climate Change and Curtailment: Evaluating Water Management Practices in the Context of Changing Runoff Regimes in a Snowmelt-Dominated Basin

1
Department of Geosciences, Boise State University, Boise, ID 83725, USA
2
Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Management, Ball State University, Muncie, IN 47306, USA
3
Human Environment Systems, Boise State University, Boise, ID 83725, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Current address: Idaho Department of Environmental Quality, Boise, ID 83706, USA.
Received: 26 August 2018 / Revised: 16 October 2018 / Accepted: 17 October 2018 / Published: 22 October 2018
(This article belongs to the Section Water Resources Management and Governance)
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Abstract

Hydrologic scientists and water resource managers often focus on different facets of flow regimes in changing climates. The objective of this work is to examine potential hydrological changes in the Upper Boise River Basin, Idaho, USA in the context of biophysical variables and their impacts a key variable governing administration of water resources in the region in an integrated way. This snowmelt-dominated, mountainous watershed supplies water to a semi-arid, agriculturally intensive, but rapidly urbanizing, region. Using the Envision integrated modeling framework, we created a hydrological model to simulate hydrological response to the year 2100 using six alternative future climate trajectories. Annual discharge increased from historical values by 6–24% across all simulations (with an average 13% increase), reflecting an increase in precipitation in the climate projections. Discharge peaked 4–33 days earlier and streamflow center of timing occurred 4–17 days earlier by midcentury. Examining changes in the date junior water rights holders begin to be curtailed regionally (the Day of Allocation), we found that the it occurs at least 14 days earlier by 2100 across all simulations, with one suggesting it could occur over a month earlier. These results suggest that current methods and policies of water rights accounting and management may need to be revised moving into the future. View Full-Text
Keywords: climate change; runoff regime; snowmelt; water management; water rights; Day of Allocation; flood control; water supply climate change; runoff regime; snowmelt; water management; water rights; Day of Allocation; flood control; water supply
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).
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Steimke, A.L.; Han, B.; Brandt, J.S.; Flores, A.N. Climate Change and Curtailment: Evaluating Water Management Practices in the Context of Changing Runoff Regimes in a Snowmelt-Dominated Basin. Water 2018, 10, 1490.

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