Climatic Change

, Volume 102, Issue 1–2, pp 287–317 | Cite as

Climate change impacts on water management and irrigated agriculture in the Yakima River Basin, Washington, USA

  • Julie A. Vano
  • Michael J. Scott
  • Nathalie Voisin
  • Claudio O. Stöckle
  • Alan F. Hamlet
  • Kristian E. B. Mickelson
  • Marketa McGuire Elsner
  • Dennis P. Lettenmaier
Article

Abstract

The Yakima River Reservoir system supplies water to ~180,000 irrigated hectares through the operation of five reservoirs with cumulative storage of ~30% mean annual river flow. Runoff is derived mostly from winter precipitation in the Cascade Mountains, much of which is stored as snowpack. Climate change is expected to result in earlier snowmelt runoff and reduced summer flows. Effects of these changes on irrigated agriculture were simulated using a reservoir system model coupled to a hydrological model driven by downscaled scenarios from 20 climate models archived by the 2007 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fourth Assessment Report. We find earlier snowmelt results in increased water delivery curtailments. Historically, the basin experienced substantial water shortages in 14% of years. Without adaptations, for IPCC A1B global emission scenarios, water shortages increase to 27% (13% to 49% range) in the 2020s, to 33% in the 2040s, and 68% in the 2080s. For IPCC B1 emissions scenarios, shortages occur in 24% (7% to 54%) of years in the 2020s, 31% in the 2040s and 43% in the 2080s. Historically unprecedented conditions where senior water rights holders suffer shortfalls occur with increasing frequency in both A1B and B1 scenarios. Economic losses include expected annual production declines of 5%–16%, with greater probabilities of operating losses for junior water rights holders.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Anderson B, Gibbs M, Hart C, Inman R, McChesney D, Slattery K (2006) 2005 drought response report to the legislature. Publication 06-11-001. Washington State Department of Ecology, Water Resources Program, Olympia, p 48Google Scholar
  2. Casola JH, Cuo L, Livneh B, Lettenmaier DP, Stoelinga MT, Mote PW, Wallace JM (2009) Assessing the impacts of global warming on snowpack in the Washington cascades. J Clim 22(10):2758–2772CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Elsner MM, Cuo L, Voisin N, Deems JS, Hamlet AF, Vano JA, Mickelson KEB, Lee SY, Lettenmaier DP (2010) Implications of 21st century climate change for the hydrology of Washington State. Clim Change. doi:10.1007/s10584-010-9855-0 Google Scholar
  4. Glantz MH (1982) Consequences and responsibility in drought forecasting: the case of Yakima, 1977. Water Resour Res 18:3–13CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Guédon Y, Legave JM (2008) Analyzing the time-course variation of apple and pear tree dates of flowering stages in the global warming context. Ecol Model 219:189–199CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (2007) Climate change 2007: the physical science basis. In: Solomon S, Qin D, Manning M, Chen Z, Marquis M, Averyt KB, Tignor M, Miller HL (eds) Contribution of working group I to the fourth assessment report of the IPCC. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  7. Isley S (2001) Memorandum to the drought water transfers group, May 19, 2001: proposed methodology for calculating TWSA water budget neutral water transfer quantities using consumptive use calculations. http://www.roundtableassociates.com/xfer/docs/ConsumpUseMethod.htm. Accessed 10 April 2006
  8. Kent CA (2004) Water resource planning in the Yakima River Basin: development vs. sustainability. APCG Yearbook 66:27–60Google Scholar
  9. Liang X, Lettenmaier DP, Wood EF, Burges SJ (1994) A simple hydrologically based model of land surface water and energy fluxes for general circulation models. J Geophys Res 99(14):415–414, 428Google Scholar
  10. Lobell DB, Field CB, Cahill KN, Bonfils C (2006) Impacts of future climate change on California perennial crop yields: model projections with climate and crop uncertainties. Agric For Meteorol 141(2–4):208–218CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Mastin MC (2008) Effects of potential future warming on runoff in the Yakima River Basin, Washington: US Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report, 2008-5124, p 12. http://pubs.usgs.gov/sir/2008/5124/
  12. Mastin MC, Vaccaro JJ (2002) Watershed models for decision support in the Yakima River Basin, Washington. US Geological Survey Open-File Report 02-404, Tacoma, WAGoogle Scholar
  13. Milly PCD, Betancourt J, Falkenmark M, Hirsch RM, Kundzewicz ZW, Lettenmaier DP, Stouffer RJ (2008) Stationarity is dead: whither water management? Science 319(5863):573–574CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Mote PW, Salathé EP Jr (2010) Future climate in the Pacific Northwest. Clim Change. doi:10.1007/s10584-010-9848-z Google Scholar
  15. Mote PW, Hamlet AF, Clark MP, Lettenmaier DP (2005) Declining mountain snowpack in western North America. BAMS 86(1):39–49CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Oracle (2009) Oracle crystal ball. http://www.oracle.com/appserver/business-intelligence/crystalball/crystalball.html. Accessed 30 Jan 2009
  17. Scott MJ, Vail LW, Jaksch JA, Stöckle CO, Kemanian AR (2004a) Water exchanges: tools to beat el niño climate variability in irrigated agriculture. J Water Resour Assoc 40(1):15–31CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Scott MJ, Vail LW, Jaksch JA, Stöckle CO, Kemanian AR (2004b) Climate change and adaptation in irrigated agriculture—a case study of the Yakima River. In: Proceedings of the UCOWR/NIWR annual conference, 20–22 July 2004, Portland, Oregon. PNWD-SA-6448. Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Richland, WAGoogle Scholar
  19. Snover AK, Hamlet AF, Lettenmaier DP (2003) Climate change scenarios for water planning studies: pilot applications in the Pacific Northwest. Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society 84(11):1513–1518. http://www.hydro.washington.edu/Lettenmaier/permanent_archive/hamleaf/bams_paper/technical_documentation.pdf
  20. Stöckle CO, Nelson R (1996) CropSyst user’s manual (version 2.0). Biological Systems Engineering Dept., Washing State Univ, PullmanGoogle Scholar
  21. Stöckle CO, Donatelli M, Nelson R (2003) CropSyst, a cropping systems simulation model. Eur J Agron 18:289–307CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Stöckle CO, Nelson RL, Higgins S, Brunner J, Grove G, Boydston R, Whiting M, Kruger C (2010) Assessment of climate change impact on Eastern Washington agriculture. Clim Change. doi:10.1007/s10584-010-9851-4 Google Scholar
  23. US Department of Agriculture (2004) 2002 Census of Agriculture. Washington State and County data, vol 1, geographic area series, part 47. AC-02-A-47. US Department of Agriculture, Washington, DC, p 483Google Scholar
  24. US Bureau of Reclamation (2002) Interim comprehensive basin operating plan for the Yakima Project, Washington. Yakima Field Office, Yakima, WAGoogle Scholar
  25. US Bureau of Reclamation (2008) Yakima River Basin water storage feasibility study. Final planning report/environmental impact statement. http://www.usbr.gov/pn/programs/storage_study/reports/eis/final/index.html. Accessed 4 Jan 2009
  26. Vano JA, Voisin N, Cuo L, Hamlet AF, Elsner MM, Palmer RN, Polebitski A, Lettenmaier DP (2010) Climate change impacts on water management in the Puget Sound region, Washington State, USA. Clim Change. doi:10.1007/s10584-010-9846-1 Google Scholar
  27. Washington State Department of Ecology (2009) Yakima River Basin water management. http://www.ecy.wa.gov/programs/wr/cro/yakimabasin.html. Accessed 24 Feb 2009
  28. Western Region Climate Center (WRCC) (2007) Monthly climate summaries. http://www.wrcc.dri.edu/summary/Climsmwa.html. Accessed 13 Dec 2007
  29. Whitely Binder LC, Barcelos JK, Booth DB, Darzen M, Elsner MM, Fenske R, Graham TF, Hamlet AF, Hodges-Howell J, Jackson JE, Karr C, Keys PW, Littell JS, Mantua N, Marlow J, McKenzie D, Robinson-Dorn M, Rosenberg EA, Stöckle CO, Vano JA (2010) Preparing for climate change in Washington State. Clim Change. doi:10.1007/s10584-010-9850-5 Google Scholar
  30. Wood AW, Maurer EP, Kumar A, Lettenmaier DP (2002) Long-range experimental hydrologic forecasting for the eastern United States. J Geophyl Res 107(D20):6:1–15Google Scholar
  31. Yakima River Basin Conservation Advisory Group (CAG) (2002) Yakima River Basin water transfers 2001 drought year and 2002 pilot transfer process. March 2002. Prepared by CAG facilitator, Roundtable Associates, Seattle WA, p 13Google Scholar
  32. Zagona EA, Fulp TJ, Shane R, Magee T, Goranflo HM (2001) RiverWare: a generalized tool for complex reservoir system modeling. J AWRA 37(4):913–929Google Scholar

Copyright information

© US Government 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Julie A. Vano
    • 1
  • Michael J. Scott
    • 2
  • Nathalie Voisin
    • 1
  • Claudio O. Stöckle
    • 3
  • Alan F. Hamlet
    • 1
    • 4
  • Kristian E. B. Mickelson
    • 1
    • 5
  • Marketa McGuire Elsner
    • 4
  • Dennis P. Lettenmaier
    • 1
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of Civil and Environmental EngineeringUniversity of WashingtonSeattleUSA
  2. 2.Pacific Northwest National LaboratoryRichlandUSA
  3. 3.Department of Biological Systems EngineeringWashington State UniversityPullmanUSA
  4. 4.JISAO/CSES Climate Impacts GroupUniversity of WashingtonSeattleUSA
  5. 5.Water ManagementUS Army Corps of Engineers - Seattle DistrictSeattleUSA

Personalised recommendations