In a changing climate, the uncertainty in a decision varies by the type of climate information that feeds the decision. If water scheduling assumptions are based on assumptions of climate stationarity rather than a changing climate, then ultimately the decisions are vulnerabilities as well. Particularly vulnerable are the decisions that are fed by statistical models, which relate historic information to water supply and demand assumptions. Accurately communicating the uncertainty to the stakeholders who must subsequently rely on the water schedule is of upmost importance.
Reclamation and USACE communicate risk and uncertainty to stakeholders through different means depending on stakeholder needs and the target audience. Communication ranges from personal and conversational, to official and technical. Current efforts focus on the communication of deterministic versus probabilistic results. There is a chain of uncertainty from science to decision-makers, and communication is imperative down the line (in both directions). There is a need for science agencies to learn from the operators what forecasts and tools are useful, as well as for operators to learn about, and understand, the tools and products the science agencies can provide. It is also necessary for operators to learn from water managers, who also gain knowledge from decision-makers, what types of output are useful.
CCAWWG has identified gaps where current capabilities fall short of those needed for operational planning and scheduling. This presentation will discuss those gaps specifically related to assessing, characterizing, and communicating uncertainties related to weather and climate forecasts. The overall aim is to help bridge the communications gap between researchers and users, with the hope to guide more directed research suitable for water resource operational and management use.