The Once and Future Variability of Colorado River Water Resources

Name of the Speaker: Prof. Rajagopalan Balaji

Title of the Seminar: The Once and Future Variability of Colorado River Water Resources

Date and Time: 12th February 2024 (Monday), 04:00 pm

Online Platform: MS Teams (link to the video of the seminar)

About the Speaker: Professor Rajagopalan Balaji is a Professor in the Department of Civil, Environmental and Architectural Engineering (CEAE) and a Fellow of the Cooperative Institute of Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES), CU Boulder. He is the former Chair of the Department during 2014– 2022. He pursues research in diverse interdisciplinary areas spanning– hydro-climatology, water resources management, Indian summer monsoon, paleoclimate, and stochastic hydrology. In addition, large-scale statistical analysis and modeling for applications to water and wastewater quality, construction safety, building energy efficiency, and others. He publishes widely in leading and prestigious peer-reviewed journals. He was elected Fellow, of the American Geophysical Union, in 2018, of the American Society of Civil Engineers, and awarded the Fulbright-Kalam Climate Fellowship in 2023, all prestigious honors.

Abstract: Now serving over 40 million people and irrigating roughly 5 million acres of land over seven western US states and Mexico, reliance on Colorado River water has never been greater, paradoxically at a time when its annual flow has been low and unreliable due to the ongoing two decades long ‘millennial drought’. As a result, two large reservoirs that can hold four times the annual average flow, are at their historical lows, stressing the water resources to crisis level. This will only be exacerbated by a future warming climate in which such droughts are projected to be frequent. Thus, leading the Colorado River to be designated, in 2022, America’s most endangered river. The management of water resources via complex decrees and agreements, the ‘law of the river’, is struggling to help the stakeholders manage the water resources efficiently during this severe and sustained drought. To enable sustainable water resources in the future, a systematic understanding and modeling of past, current, and future variability is crucial. For, the past is prologue. This understanding will provide an informed judgment for stakeholders and decision-makers to debate options and enable robust decisions. This talk will provide an overview of the current understanding of the once and future variability of flows along with emerging models for flow simulation and projections for water resources management.

Date(s) - 12/02/2024
4:00 pm - 5:00 pm

Interdisciplinary Centre for Water Research (ICWaR) - IISc Bangalore