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Adaptation Planning

Planning for an Uncertain Future

Denver Water’s Planning Division focuses on water adaptation activities to identify potential impacts, access vulnerability and plan for potential changes. 

Adaptation Planning Activities

Simple Vulnerability Assessment: A Denver Water analysis showed that a 2 to 5 degree Fahrenheit increase in temperature could cause a 7 to 14 percent decline in water supply yield. The analysis also showed that a 2 degree increase would increase water demand by 6 percent. 

Tree Ring Analysis: To better understand our climate’s past variability, model reconstructions of 400 years of streamflows using tree ring data were completed within Denver Water’s collection system. These estimated streamflows were analyzed to understand the potential implications to Denver’s supply and to gain a broader perspective of our area’s climate variability.

Water Utility Climate Alliance: Denver Water is a member of the Water Utility Climate Alliance, which was formed to provide leadership and collaboration on climate change issues affecting the country's water agencies by improving research, developing adaptation strategies and creating mitigation approaches to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The alliance is comprised of eight of the United States’ largest water providers that are in the forefront of climate change planning.

Joint Front Range Climate Change Vulnerability Study: Colorado Front Range water providers and other agencies are participating in a study to provide education, tools and methodology necessary to examine the potential effects of climate change projections on future streamflow in the watersheds that supply Front Range water utilities.

Integrated Resource Plan: Denver Water’s new Integrated Resource Plan will help guide decisions related to its water system over the next 50 years. The Integrated Resource Plan, a planning process Denver Water instituted in 1997, examines water collection, treatment, distribution and recycling systems, and provides guidance about what will be needed in the future. It scrutinizes water-demand projections and demand-management alternatives, as well as water-supply options and alternatives.

The new Integrated Resource Plan, once finalized, will consider a broader range of issues than in the past, including potential challenges to the water system such as climate change.