Colorado River managers face a deeply uncertain future. Projections of declining watershed runoff are likely to necessitate restructuring of the present interpretation of the Law of the River that allocates water supply among Mexico and the seven states of the Basin. Additionally, the magnitude and distribution of consumptive uses of water will change. Outcomes for river and reservoir ecosystems are poorly predicted. How should we make better decisions given these uncertain factors? To help answer this question and expand conversation about the Colorado River management issues, we (1) classify different levels of uncertainty to guide decisions about which modeling tools and public policies to use; (2) review advantages of existing tools that will contribute to future operation and management; (3) develop an easy to use exploratory model that adequately represents the water system to empower a broader range of river stakeholders to adaptively manage the river and its reservoirs. The presentation will conclude with a discussion of promising future management paradigms and open research questions in the area of planning under uncertainty.
Wang, Jian, "Strategies for Managing the Colorado River in an Uncertain Future" (2020). All ECSTATIC Materials. Paper 89.