Climate report: Colorado expected to continue warming, putting pressure on water supplies

By: InnovatioNews Tuesday August 5, 2014 0 comments Tags: Boulder, James Eklund, Jeff Lukas


BOULDER - As Colorado's climate continues to warm, those who manage or use water will likely face significant changes in water supply and demand, according to a report released today on state climate change by Western Water Assessment and the Colorado Water Conservation Board.

Rising temperatures will tend to reduce the amount of water in many of the state's streams and rivers, melt mountain snowpack sooner and increase the amount of water needed by crops and cities, according to the report, "Climate Change in Colorado: A Synthesis to Support Water Resources Management and Adaptation."

The report updates and expands on an initial report released in 2008.

"Despite some uncertainties around precipitation, it's clear that as temperatures rise in Colorado, there will be impacts on our water resources," said Jeff Lukas, lead author of the report and a researcher at Western Water Assessment, a program of the University of Colorado-Boulder.

The program is funded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

"Already, snowmelt and runoff are shifting earlier, our soils are becoming drier, and the growing season has lengthened," Lukas said. "Wildfires and heat waves have become more common, too. Climate projections suggest those trends - all of which can affect water supply and demand - will continue."

"This report will help inform critical products like the  Statewide Water Supply Initiative and Colorado's Water Plan," said James Eklund, Colorado Water Conservation Board director.

"This report will add value, just as the 2008 report was widely used by the state and other entities to inform their long-term planning processes such as the Colorado Drought Mitigation and Response Plan and the City of Denver's Climate Adaptation Plan."

The full report is available at

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