Predicting Hydrologic Impacts of a Severe and Sustained Drought on the Colorado River Basin

by Taiye B. Sangoyomi, Hydrosphere Resource Consultants, Boulder, United States,
Benjamin L. Harding, Hydrosphere Resource Consultants, Boulder, United States,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Water Policy and Management: Solving the Problems


We investigated the impacts of a severe and sustained drought (SSD) on the hydrology of the Colorado River Basin. The simulation was carried out using the Colorado River Network (CORN) Model which simulates the physical and institutional constraints on the Colorado River Basin. A SSD hydrology reconstruction based on the drought which occurred in the Colorado River basin from 1579-1616 (which was the most severe drought in the over 500 years of reconstructed streamflow) period was used in this study. The impacts of the SSD on streamflows, depletions and reservoir contents within the basin, as well as on salinity and hydropower generation were examined. The results from the SSD simulation were also compared to conditions resulting from a simulation of the system using the 38-year, running average, historical streamflow traces.

Subject Headings: Streamflow | Hydrology | Droughts | Rivers and streams | Basins | Hydro power | Power plants | Salt water | Colorado River

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