Report to Congress on Basin Studies Program

U.S. Bureau of Reclamation has published the Water Reliability in the West – 2021 SECURE Water Act Report addressing the implications of their Basin Study program across the west.

The Bureau of Reclamation on April 5, 2021 released final technical reports supporting the Water Reliability in the West – 2021 SECURE Water Act Report. Reclamation’s 2021 West-Wide Climate and Hydrology Assessment and seven individual basin reports provide detailed information on climate change impacts and adaptation strategies to increase water supply reliability in the West. A new 2021 SECURE Report Web Portal is also available to provide a user-friendly, web-based format for delivery of information in the reports.

The 2021 West-Wide Assessment provides estimates of changes in temperature, precipitation, snowpack, and streamflow across the West using consistent methodology, similar to previous SECURE Water Act Reports. For this report, additional drought analyses based on paleohydrology (using tree rings) was performed. These results will enable water managers to compare the frequency and severity of droughts that occurred several hundred years ago to projections of future droughts and develop water management strategies in time to take action.

The West-Wide Assessment finds that temperatures are expected to increase across the West while precipitation changes are variable. With warmer temperatures, more precipitation will fall as rain and snow will melt sooner, reducing snowpack in the future that can impact streamflow timing. These key findings on future climate and hydrology are consistent with the conclusions of the 2016 SECURE Water Act Report.

The Rio Grande New Mexico Basin Study that will commence soon is authorized and funded under the Secure Water Act. The Middle Rio Grande Water Advocates have convened community organizations from the Taos, Santa Fe, Albuquerque, South Valley, Los Lunas, and Socorro efforts to represent grassroots values in the three-year effort that will evaluate the outcomes of business as usual and climate change mitigation and adaptation strategies developed by agricultural, municipal, tribal, national NGOs, and Community Organizations Sectors.

Click here to view the entire Report to Congress or access the web portal and links to other good resources.