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WWA researchers discuss study at climate change roundtable


Researchers from the Western Water Assessment – a part of CPO’s Regional Integrated Sciences & Assessments (RISA) program – joined a Jan. 17 roundtable discussion on climate impacts in Salt Lake City featuring members of the White House staff.

As part of a roundtable discussion, Western Water Assessment researchers discussed a recent study on the effects of rising temperatures on Salt Lake City’s water supply. The study, published in the journal Earth Interactions in November, shows that every degree Fahrenheit of warming in the Salt Lake City region could mean a 1.8 to 6.5 percent drop in the annual flow of streams that provide water to the city. According to the report, by 2050, warming Western temperatures may mean that some of the creeks and streams near Salt Lake City will dry up several weeks earlier in the summer and fall. The findings of this paper may help regional planners make choices about long-term investments, including water storage and land-protection policies.

Visiting Salt Lake City for the roundtable discussion were Nancy Sutley, chair of the White House Council of Environmental Quality, and White House Director of Intergovernmental Affairs David Agnew. Sutley is the principal environmental policy advisor to President Obama and helps coordinate the administration’s environmental and energy policies and initiatives. The discussions also included the city’s Mayor – an appointed member of the White House Take Force on Climate Preparedness and Resilience.  The White House Task Force created by the President to advise the Administration on how the federal government can support communities across the country that are dealing with the impacts of climate change.

Along with WWA researcher, representatives from the White House, and the Mayor, the roundtable discussion included local stakeholders, other governmental representatives, businesses, academia and nonprofits. The goal was to facilitate a constructive dialogue on local climate impacts and discuss how the federal government can support adaptation and resilience efforts in the Salt Lake City area.

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