AbstractThe evaluation of water systems based on historical statistics is problematic when shifts in the hydrologic system occur due to a changing climate. An explicit link to thermodynamic and dynamic pathways in the climate system that may control water system performance is missing from current operational policies prescribed by regulation manuals within the US. In response, this study contributes an extended version of an existing weather regime (WR)–based stochastic weather generator (SWG) that allows (1) hourly simulation, (2) over the entire year, and (3) with a corrected representation of extremes. A range of climate scenarios is developed to demonstrate the insights that can be gained from linking the impacts of climate change to their thermodynamic and dynamic causal mechanisms, in this case for inflows to the Don Pedro Reservoir within the Tuolumne River Watershed of California. Application of the WR-SWG and water system modeling chain shows that the magnitude of flood events can be heavily influenced by antecedent hydrologic factors such as snow water equivalent (SWE) and soil moisture. Our results suggest that, under all climate change scenarios, SWE decreases as temperature increases and contributes more (sometimes up to 2.5 times more than the baseline) inflow as part of rain-on-snow events. The monthly reservoir inflows show the potential to cause extreme floods as the average rate of inflow increases by up to 80% with temperature increases, whereas SWE tends to increase by 50%, adding water to the stream during the high flow season. In addition to the temperature increase, if the water-holding capacity of the atmosphere increases with Clausius-Clapeyron scaling, reservoir inflows are projected to increase. This provides insight for risk-hedging policies: winter storm and spring snowmelt release and storage decisions that drive flood and drought risk, respectively.