Climate change: evaluating your local and regional water resources

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The BCM is a fine-scale hydrologic model that uses detailed maps of soils, geology, topography, and transient monthly or daily maps of potential evapotranspiration, air temperature, and precipitation to generate maps of recharge, runoff, snow pack, actual evapotranspiration, and climatic water deficit. With these comprehensive environmental inputs and experienced scientific analysis, the BCM provides resource managers with important hydrologic and ecologic understanding of a landscape or basin at hillslope to regional scales. The model is calibrated using historical climate and streamflow data over the range of geologic materials specific to an area. Once calibrated, the model is used to translate climate-change data into hydrologic responses for a defined landscape, to provide managers an understanding of potential ecological risks and threats to water supplies and managed hydrologic systems. Although limited to estimates of unimpaired hydrologic conditions, estimates of impaired conditions, such as agricultural demand, diversions, or reservoir outflows can be incorporated into the calibration of the model to expand its utility. Additionally, the model can be linked to other models, such as groundwater-flow models (that is, MODFLOW) or the integrated hydrologic model (MF-FMP), to provide information about subsurface hydrologic processes. The model can be applied at a relatively small scale, but also can be applied to large-scale national and international river basins.

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  • Fact Sheet


  • critical issues, database publication, water availability, water, climate, california