RiverSMART Climate Assessment Tools

The Department of Interior’s WaterSMART Program seeks to secure and stretch water supplies to benefit future generations and identify adaptive measures to address climate change. Under WaterSMART, Basin Studies are comprehensive water studies to explore options for meeting projected imbalances in water supply and demand in specific basins. Such studies could be most beneficial with application of recent scientific advances in climate projections, stochastic simulation, operational modeling and robust decision-making, as well as computational techniques to organize and analyze many alternatives.

RiverSMART – the RiverWare Study Manager and Research Tool – is a new integrated set of tools and techniques to facilitate these studies. It includes the following components: Future supply scenarios are produced by the Hydrology Simulator, which uses non-parametric K-nearest neighbor resampling techniques to generate ensembles of hydrologic traces based on historical data, optionally conditioned on long paleo reconstructed data using various Markov Chain techniuqes. Resampling can also be conditioned on climate change projections from e.g., downscaled GCM projections to capture increased variability; spatial and temporal disaggregation is also provided. The simulations produced are ensembles of hydrologic inputs to the RiverWare operations/infrastucture decision modeling software. Alternative demand scenarios can be produced with the Demand Input Tool (DIT), an Excel-based tool that allows modifying future demands by groups such as states; sectors, e.g., agriculture, municipal, energy; and hydrologic basins. The demands can be scaled at future dates or changes ramped over specified time periods. Resulting data is imported directly into the decision model. Different model files can represent infrastructure alternatives and different Policy Sets represent alternative operating policies, including options for noticing when conditions point to unacceptable vulnerabilities, which trigger dynamically executing changes in operations or other options.

The over-arching Study Manager provides a graphical tool to create combinations of future supply scenarios, demand scenarios, infrastructure and operating policy alternatives; each scenario is executed as an ensemble of RiverWare runs, driven by the hydrologic supply. The Study Manager sets up and manages multiple executions on multi-core hardware. The sizeable are typically direct model outputs, or post-processed indicators of performance based on model outputs. Post processing statistical analysis of the outputs are possible using the Graphical Policy Analysis Tool or other statistical packages. Several Basin Studies undertaken have used RiverWare to evaluate future scenarios.

The Colorado River Basin Study, the most complex and extensive to date, has taken advantage of these tools and techniques to generate supply scenarios, produce alternative demand scenarios and to set up and execute the many combinations of supplies, demands, policies, and infrastructure alternatives. The tools and techniques will be described with example applications.

For more information about availability of the RiverSMART tools, please contact CADSWES.


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