Season-ahead Drought Forecast Models for the Lower Colorado River Authority in Texas

Monday, 15 December 2014
Paul J Block1, Brian Zimmerman1, Matthew Grzegorzewski1, David W Watkins Jr2 and Ronald Anderson3, (1)University of Wisconsin Madison, Madison, WI, United States, (2)Michigan Technological Univ, Houghton, MI, United States, (3)Lower Colorado River Authority, Austin, TX, United States
The Lower Colorado River Authority (LCRA) in Austin, Texas, manages the Highland Lakes reservoir system in Central Texas, a series of six lakes on the Lower Colorado River. This system provides water to approximately 1.1 million people in Central Texas, supplies hydropower to a 55-county area, supports rice farming along the Texas Gulf Coast, and sustains in-stream flows in the Lower Colorado River and freshwater inflows to Matagorda Bay. The current, prolonged drought conditions are severely taxing the LCRA’s system, making allocation and management decisions exceptionally challenging, and affecting the ability of constituents to conduct proper planning. In this work, we further develop and evaluate season-ahead statistical streamflow and precipitation forecast models for integration into LCRA decision support models. Optimal forecast lead time, predictive skill, form, and communication are all considered.