Federal Climate Change and Water Working Group (CAWWG)

photo of dam
photo of drought
photo of NM river


Managing water supplies is a mission shared by many federal, state, and local agencies and stakeholder groups. Understanding how climate change, variability and trends will affect future water demand and supply, and identifying adaptation strategies is a shared priority across these entities. Many of these same needs are also shared by the land and wildlife management agencies.

Reclamation, USACE, NOAA and USGS formed the Federal Climate Change and Water Working Group (CAWWG) in 2008 to:

  • Work with the water management community to understand their needs.
  • Foster collaborative efforts across the federal and non-federal scientific community to address their needs in a way that capitalizes on interdisciplinary expertise, shares information, and avoids duplication.

Current Status

CAWWG is pursuing many collaborative efforts including:

  1. Working with the federal and non-federal water management community to identify the most critical gaps in our capability to forecast and adapt to climate change.
  2. Conducting collaborative research and technology development, including pilots, to close the gaps.
  3. Engaging in a dialog in which decision-making informs climate science research priorities.
  4. Instituting an authoritative training venue that can facilitate translating and applying emerging science and technical capabilities into water resource planning and technical studies.

CAWWG is focused on helping the water management community adapt practices as climate changes. The principal federal water management agencies are the Reclamation and USACE, with Reclamation primarily being a water supply agency and the USACE primarily a flood control and waterway navigation agency. Both agencies have complementary responsibilities involving hydropower generation, aquatic ecosystem stewardship and restoration, operating and maintaining water infrastructure, and administering water-related recreation. NOAA is the primary federal science agency responsible for understanding and predicting short and long-term climate variations, while the USGS is the primary federal agency that engages in surface water, ground water, and aquatic species sciences. Collectively, these four agencies span all aspects of the hydrologic cycle, and are currently the four core federal agencies of CAWWG.

Other Federal Agencies: Many of the needs and capabilities associated with water management are common to other federal resource management, regulatory, or science agencies. We actively attempt to identify linkages and pursue collaboration in areas of common interest.

State and Local Entities: State and local utilities, including agricultural water districts, user groups and stakeholder organizations are also significant members of the water community affected by climate change. Their perspectives are vitally important to creating effective and efficient research and technology development agendas; and their collaborative participation is being sought.

CAWWG Agency Executive Sponsors Points of Contact
Reclamation Karl Wirkus, Michael Gabaldon Curt Brown, Chuck Hennig
USACE Steve Stockton, Bob Pietrowsky Kate White, Rolf Olsen
USGS Stan Ponce, Matt Larsen, Sue Hazeltine Earl Greene, Robin Schrock, Warren Day
NOAA Chet Koblinsky, Steve Murawski, Thomas Karl Robert Webb, John Stein, Roger Pulwarty
USACE logo NOAA logo USBR logo USGS logo