Under the project “An Assessment of Decadal Drought Information Needs of Stakeholders and Policymakers in the Missouri River Basin“, we carried out a series of three geographically-dispersed workshops to gain a deeper understanding of the regional and sectoral effects of decadal climate variability (DCV) on agriculture and water resources in the Missouri River Basin, and of the climate information needed by stakeholders to cope with impacts of DCV. The first workshop was held in Kansas City, Missouri, in April 2008; the second in Helena, Montana, in June 2009; and the third in Lincoln, Nebraska, in November 2010. The objectives of these workshops were to:1. Demonstrate to stakeholders the relationship between DCV and major historic droughts and wet spells in the Basin;2. Gather sector-specific information on impacts of the droughts of the 1980s and the 2000 decade, and the prolonged wetness of the 1990s; and 3. Evaluate the potential for developing future decadal climate outlooks as well as management options useful in preparing for and coping with protracted dry and wet spells.The Kansas City and Helena workshops involved a broad range of stakeholders from the lower and upper Basin (i.e., federal, state, tribal, and local government; academics; agricultural and environmental groups; and private industry) representing agriculture, water, and other natural resource sectors. The Lincoln workshop targeted medium and large municipalities; state and federal water resource agencies; and consultants and university researchers from Colorado, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, and Montana. In total, 90 stakeholders participated in these workshops (i.e., 25 stakeholders in Kansas City; 43 stakeholders in Helena; and 22 stakeholders in Lincoln). Full affiliations of the stakeholders are described in reports of individual workshops (Mehta et al., 2010a, 2010b, and 2010c).
Under the project titled “Interannual to Decadal Climate Variability Information for Risk Assessment, Urban Water Policy, and Decision Support: Case Studies of Kansas City, Lincoln, and Great Falls Urban Areas within the Missouri River Basin“, we conducted three workshops in the Missouri River Basin (MRB) in October 2012. This research project is a joint effort of the Center for Research on the Changing Earth System (CRCES), Catonsville, Maryland; and the National Drought Mitigation Center of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (NDMC). The purpose of the workshops conducted in each of the case study areas was to gain a deeper understanding of the effects of interannual and decadal climate variability on urban water security in the MRB, and of the climate data and information needed by each of the three urban water systems for decision support. The workshops were held in Great Falls, Montana, on 9 October 2012, Lincoln, Nebraska, on 11 October 2012 and Kansas City, Missouri, on 12 October 2012.Participants / stakeholders in each of the workshops included managers from the local water system; representatives of state and federal agencies with responsibility for water resources; and consultants and university researchers from within the MRB. In total, 38 stakeholders participated in the three workshops – 11 in Great Falls, 13 in Lincoln, and 14 in Kansas City. Full affiliations of the stakeholders are given in participant lists for each of the workshops (Great Falls, Lincoln, Kansas City). The flow of the workshops was as follows: First the project team showed that climatic events on the interannual to decadal scale (“climate cycles”) have major effects on the supply and demand for water in the MRB. Next, participants were provided analyses of past data showing the relationship among various climate phenomena that occur in the Atlantic and Pacific oceans; their associations with multiyear to decadal hydro-meteorological variability in each case study area; and measured water supply and demand in each case study area. Discussions then focused on the following questions: 1. How does climate variability affect the urban water system’s water supply and demand? Is currently available climate information used in water resources management by the water system? 2. What is the potential for using long-term (interannual to decadal) climate information and outlooks in urban water system management? 3. What are the best indicators to assess the impacts of interannual to decadal climate variability on the urban water system, and are there data available on these indicators? The potential for developing future decadal climate outlooks and potential management options that would be useful in preparing for and coping with droughts and wet periods were also discussed. Each workshop also included a visit by the project team to pumping stations on the Missouri River (Great Falls, Kansas City) and a well field on a tributary (Lincoln, the Platte River). The project team also visited the Great Falls water processing plant. A detailed report of the workshop proceedings is in preparation.