The Rio Grande Basin Study
Dagmar Llewellyn has served as a hydrologist and civil engineer at the Bureau of Reclamation office in Albuquerque since 2010. At Reclamation, she coordinates projects related to the projection of the impacts of climate change, and to building of resilience to resulting changes in our watersheds and water supply. She provides her expertise to water operations, endangered species and other environmental compliance in the Rio Grande Basin, as well as to research and outreach efforts related to water supply and demand challenges in the Rio Grande basin. Prior to employment at Reclamation, she worked for 22 years at S. S. Papadopulos & Associates, a firm that specializes in quantitative analysis of groundwater and surface water, in its Washington DC office, and as the manager of the firm’s Albuquerque office. She is an adjunct faculty at the University of New Mexico, where she has taught hydrogeology in the Civil Engineering Department, and New Mexico Water Management at the Law School, and served on Master’s Thesis committees.
Basin Studies are collaborative, watershed-based studies that seek to build resilience to a growing gap between water supply and demand in river basins of the Western US. These studies are led by Reclamation, in partnership with a broad consortium of non-Federal partners who work together to evaluate changing hydrology and to brainstorm, model, and assess potential adaptation actions that could help human societies continue to thrive in these basins. Each study includes four key elements:
Development of state-of-the-art projections of future supply and demand in the river basin of interest.
Modeling analyses of how the basin’s existing water and power operations and infrastructure will perform in the face of changing water realities.
Development and modeling of strategies to meet current and future water demands.
A trade-off analysis of strategies identified.
Bureau of Reclamation has been working for several years to initiate a Basin Study for the Rio Grande Basin in northern and central New Mexico, and this study, a partnership with a consortium of non-Federal entities in the basin led by the Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District, is finally becoming a reality. Dagmar Llewellyn’s talk will introduce the Basin Study Program and its goals, and describe the latest scientific projections of future conditions in our basin.
Reclamation and the MRGCD hope to bring all interested partners in the basin together to address our future challenges. We also hope to take advantage of gatherings such as the Land and Water Summit, as well as classes in our schools, to get a vision of the future conditions that the community would like to build, and the ways that the community feels that we can build that vision. Therefore, in break-out sessions that follow Dagmar’s talk, we will be seeking your ideas for actions we can take now to help us assure such a future, in which we can continue to thrive in the Rio Grande Basin for years to come.
In the break-out session that follows Dagmar’s talk, we will be seeking attendees’ ideas for actions we can take now to help us assure a future in which we can continue to thrive in the Rio Grande Basin for years to come. The purpose of the breakout session is to encourage Summit participants to provide relevant adaptation strategies to consider re the Basin Study. This could include strategies that may only have qualitative results or ones that the Basin Study may be able to quantitatively model.
Building on the consensus circles introduced in recent Land and Water Summits, participants will have an opportunity to brainstorm strategies to adapt our water management to the changing climate. Participants will be assigned to a table to discuss a specific topic, e.g. flood risk, urban heat, forest health, maintaining groundwater levels, etc. Coaches at each table (professionals with experience on the topic) will give a 5-minute overview of their table topic, posing specific questions to provide feedback for the Basin Study, followed by 40 to 45 minutes for discussion and note-taking by students. Attendees at the Summit will be mixed at assigned tables/topics so that people of different skill sets/from different businesses/agencies will interact/discuss/propose adaptation strategies deepening the discussion.
Each person at the table will have a minute or two to respond to an element of the topic of particular importance to them/their community. Group members will listen respectfully to the views of their tablemates and build strategies for balancing concerns as the discussion proceeds around the table. Students from the Water Resources, Landscape Architecture, and Community Planning Departments at UNM will use their laptops to record the discussion in each group and the resulting notes will be downloaded onto thumb drives and posted at breaks so everyone can learn what the breakout groups contributed before the notes are given to Dagmar’s team to inform the Basin Study.