Using climate information to guide water resource management in Chile

Sabine Marx, Allyza Lustig, Dave Krantz, Megan Flemming, Paul Block, Cathy Vaughn

Decision-making in water resources is inherently uncertain, producing many risks ranging from operational (present) to planning (season-ahead) to design/adaptation (10-20 years, or decadal) time scales. Near-term climate information may be used to minimize these associated risks. Specific to our study, decadal-scale information from climate forecasts can be used to guide water resource decisions in the Elqui River basin in northern (semiarid) Chile. Some water resource managers currently use climate forecast information for year-to-year management of infrastructure and the appropriate planning of water allocation. Having a sense of the likely shifts in water supply over the next 10 years, or changes in the likelihood of multi-year droughts, may inform longer-term supply decisions or allocation strategies/contracts. The specific aims of the research include gaining a better understanding of 1) how reservoir and hydropower managers, farmers, and water conservation NGOs in the Elqui River basin perceive and interpret existing climate forecasts and 2) how useful new climate forecast products would be.


Broader Impacts

  • Understanding how local water users incorporate near-term climate information into their decision processes will help climate forecast providers identify which types of climate information are most useful and suitable to the specific needs of the people of northern Chile.


Final report available upon request