Date of Award


Degree Type

Creative Project

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Civil and Environmental Engineering

Committee Chair(s)

David Rosenberg


David Rosenberg


David Stevens


Seth Arens


With so much uncertainty of what the future has in store for us, how can we prepare for what lies ahead? The Weber Basin Water Conservancy District (WBWCD) needs to know how they can best prepare for future climate changes and future growth, and where their water system is vulnerable. A bottom-up approach can be used to consider how factors and subfactors effect the vulnerability of their water system's storage and delivery. This approach is accomplished with the use of RiverWare, an advanced water system modeling program. Scenarios to represent the factors are as follows: range of future stream flows, future water demands, reservoir sedimentation, and future reservoir evaporation. The scenarios are input into the RiverWare model created by the Utah Division of Water Resources (UDWRe). The model is then modified to run 324 model runs of combined possible model inflows, demands, reservoir sedimentation and reservoir evaporation. Calculated shortages of water and storage levels in reservoirs are output from the RiverWare model. These outputs from the 324 RiverWare model runs are then compiled and analyzed using selected drought metrics to tell us where the WBWCD is vulnerable to climate changes and population growth.

The analysis of the shortages and storage levels shows that historically the WBWCD does not face water shortages, with the average annual demands and inflow not ever going below the moderate drought storage metric level of 380 thousand acre-feet (TAF) per year in the simulated 30-year time period. As demand increases an additional 100 TAF per year from historical levels and/or when inflows decrease by 100 TF per year from historical levels the total storage level is more likely to go below 380 TAF, signaling moderate drought. Reservoir sedimentation at reservoir storage levels lower than 280 TAF, the extreme drought storage level, does not have a large impact on how much storage is in the reservoir storage. As sedimentation rises storage is more sensitive to the change in inflows than to change in demands. The overall impact that reservoir evaporation has on storage and water demand is small.