Cost of early snowmelt in terms of reduced irrigation deliveries

Aaron Benson, Ryan Williams

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Climate change and windborne dust are expected to change snowmelt timing. Dust from agricultural activities is estimated to cause snow to melt two to four weeks earlier in some regions. Early snowmelt may decrease deliveries of irrigation water when reservoirs provide flood protection and irrigation water. To date, the quantity decrease has not been determined. We identify when early snowmelt causes earlier water release, and calculate the quantity decrease in water deliveries downstream. Irrigation reductions are negligible unless the dam capacity is less than twice the quantity of annual runoff, and unless snowmelt occurs more than four weeks early.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)79-89
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Natural Resources Policy Research
Issue number2-3
StatePublished - Apr 2013


  • climate change
  • integrated watershed models
  • snowmelt
  • windborne dust


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