Seminar Abstract

Nathan VanRheenen and Richard Plamer

Thursday, May 27, 2004
1:30 to 3:00

Future Snake River streamflow scenarios, system management, and decision analysis in the face of dwindling fish stocks, thirsty farmers, demanding energy users, effective lobbyists, government 'solutions', tragically slow decision-making processes, and climate change


This presentation describes a suite of models that evaluates the impacts of climate change and proposed environmental targets on water resources in the Snake River using a structured decision process that incorporates long-lead streamflow forecasts and potential climate change impacts into systems management practices. This structured process evolves around an integrated linear programming, value judgment, and simulation modeling approach that incorporates scientific analysis, stakeholder preferences, and evolving system constraints to characterize and assess the different aspects of the problem.

The presentation will begin with a history of water resources development in the Snake River and the identification of current management opportunities and challenges, including groundwater management and the proposed 427,000 acre-foot agreement for summer flow augmentation. Climate altered streamflows (for 2000, 2020, and 2040) are used in a dynamic systems management model to calculate future storages, water supply availability, and to explore future management strategies. Ongoing analyses indicate that the combination of

  1. predicted changes in magnitude and timing of future streamflows under climate change conditions,
  2. evolving water supply needs of an irrigation-dependent community, and
  3. growing instream requirements for fish and water quality

will likely create a setting where the needs of those dependent on the system’s water resources increasingly go unmet. The systems dynamic model will be used in concert with an evolving optimization model to identify sustainable water policies. A decision analysis framework to evaluate risk and preferences associated with each scenario and strategy will be described. It is expected that this decision framework will assist in providing a range of sustainable mitigation techniques based on the current state of the system, the anticipated state of the system, and forecasted inflows.