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An accounting procedure is developed which determines a flow regime that is capable of transporting an amount of bedload sediment necessary to ensure channel stability downstream. The method allows for sediment buildup in the channel within geomorphic threshold limits during low flow periods. During periods of high runoff, enough water is bypassed to transport the stored sediment. The procedure utilizes only those flows of sufficient magnitude to maintain channel stability over the long run (25–50+ years). An example is presented which determines the volume of water and frequency of release for channel maintenance purposes downstream from a hypothetical water diversion project. Of some 1,200,000 acre feet generated...
Frequent and persistent droughts exacerbate the problems caused by the inherent scarcity of water in the semiarid to arid parts of the southwestern United States. The occurrence of drought is driven by climatic variability, which for years before about the beginning of the 20th century in the Southwest must be inferred from proxy records. As part of a multidisciplinary study of the potential hydrologic impact of severe sustained drought on the Colorado River, the physical basis and limitations of tree rings as indicators of severe sustained drought are reviewed, and tree-ring data are analyzed to delineate a “worst-case� drought scenario for the Upper Colorado River Basin (UCRB). Runs analysis of a 121-site...
A severe sustained drought in the Colorado River Basin would cause economic damages throughout the Basin. An integrated hydrologic-economic-institutional model introduced here shows that consumptive water users in headwaters states are particularly vulnerable to very large shortfalls and hence large damages because their rights are effectively junior to downstream users. Chronic shortfalls to consumptive users relying on diversions in excess of rights under the Colorado River Compact are also possible. Nonconsumptive water uses (for hydropower and recreation) are severely affected during the worst drought years as instream flows are reduced and reservoirs are depleted. Damages to these uses exceeds those to consumptive...
The cascade correlation neural network was used to predict the two-year peak discharge (Q2) for major regional river basins of the continental United States (US). Watersheds ranged in size by four orders of magnitude. Results of the neural network predictions ranged from correlations of 0.73 for 104 test data in the Souris-Red Rainy river basin to 0.95 for 141 test data in California. These results are improvements over previous multilinear regressions involving more variables that showed correlations ranging from 0.26 to 0.94. Results are presented for neural networks trained and tested on drainage area, average annual precipitation, and mean basin elevation. A neural network trained on regional scale data in the...
Researchers representing each of the Colorado River Basin states as well as the Secretary of the Interior were presented with an interactive computer simulation of a progressively increasing drought and were given the collective opportunity to change the ways in which basin-wide and within-state water management were conducted. The purpose of this ?gaming? exercise was to identify rules for managing the Colorado River which are effective in preventing drought-caused damages to basin water users. This water management game was conducted three times, varying the collective choice roles for management of the river yet staying substantially within the current institution for management of the Colorado River known as...
The Colorado River Basin faces the dilemma of an increasing demand for water while presently struggling with salinity concentrations approaching critical levels for some water uses. Based upon projected development salinity concentrations are predicted to exceed 1200 mg/1 at Imperial Dam by the year 2010. Annual losses to the basin economy associated with increased salinity will exceed $50 million by the year 2010. Although methods of controlling salt discharges are relatively unrefined, certain conclusions, based upon Bayesian statistical methods, can be reached. Five basic alternatives for coping with the problem are presented and evaluated in this paper: (1) do nothing; (2) adopt arbitrary salinity standards;...
In many interstate river basins, the institutional arrangements for the governance and management of the shared water resource are not adequately designed to effectively address the many political, legal, social, and economic issues that arise when the demands on the resource exceed the available supplies. Even under normal hydrologic conditions, this problem is frequently seen in the Colorado River Basin. During severe sustained drought, it is likely that the deficiencies of the existing arrangements would present a formidable barrier to an effective drought response, interfering with efforts to quickly and efficiently conserve and reallocate available supplies to support a variety of critical needs. In the United...
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This study examined the disposition of streamflow increases that could be created by vegetation management on forest land along the upper reaches of the Colorado River. A network optimization model was used to simulate water flow, storage, consumptive use, and loss within the entire Colorado River Basin with and without the flow increases, according to various scenarios incorporating both current and future consumptive use levels as well as existing and potential institutional constraints. Results indicate that very little of the flow increases would be consumptively used at current use levels, or even at future use levels, if water allocation institutions remain unchanged. Given future use levels and economically...
This study applies spatial analyses to examine the consequences of accelerated urban expansion on a hydrologic system over a period of 24 years. Three sets of historical aerial photos are used in a GIS analysis to document the geomorphic history of Las Vegas Wash, which drains the rapidly growing Las Vegas urban area in southern Nevada. New spatial techniques are introduced to make quantitative measurements of the erosion at three specific time intervals in the hydrologic evolution of the channel and floodplain. Unlike other erosion studies that use two different elevation surfaces to assess erosion, this study used a single elevation surface to remove systematic and nonsystemic elevation errors. The spatial analysis...
Declining reservoir storage has raised the specter of the first water shortage on the Lower Colorado River since the completion of Glen Canyon and Hoover Dams. This focusing event spurred modeling efforts to frame alternatives for managing the reservoir system during prolonged droughts. This paper addresses the management challenges that arise when using modeling tools to manage water scarcity under variable hydroclimatology, shifting use patterns, and institutional complexity. Assumptions specified in modeling simulations are an integral feature of public processes. The policymaking and management implications of assumptions are examined by analyzing four interacting sources of physical and institutional uncertainty:...
The relations of decadal to multidecadal (D2M) variability in global sea-surface temperatures (SSTs) with D2M variability in the flow of the Upper Colorado River Basin (UCRB) are examined for the years 1906-2003. Results indicate that D2M variability of SSTs in the North Atlantic, North Pacific, tropical Pacific, and Indian Oceans is associated with D2M variability of the UCRB. A principal components analysis (with varimax rotation) of detrended and 11-year smoothed global SSTs indicates that the two leading rotated principal components (RPCs) explain 56% of the variability in the transformed SST data. The first RPC (RPC1) strongly reflects variability associated with the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation and the...
This paper discusses the consumptive water needs of the various energy conversion processes including oil shale retorting, coal gasification and liquefaction, electric power generation, and slurry pipelines. Projected energy development water needs in the upper Colorado River and Upper Missouri River basins are compared with projected agricultural needs and water available. The comparative cost and values of water to energy and agricultural development are discussed to emphasize this as well as the political and social factors entering into the picture. Published in Journal of the American Water Resources Association, volume 17, issue 1, on pages 29 - 35, in 1981.
The ability to apply a hydrologic model to large numbers of basins for forecasting purposes requires a quick and effective calibration strategy. This paper presents a step wise, multiple objective, automated procedure for hydrologic model calibration. This procedure includes the sequential calibration of a model's simulation of solar radiation (SR), potential evapotranspiration (PET), water balance, and daily runoff. The procedure uses the Shuffled Complex Evolution global search algorithm to calibrate the U.S. Geological Survey's Precipitation Runoff Modeling System in the Yampa River basin of Colorado. This process assures that intermediate states of the model (SR and PET on a monthly mean basis), as well as the...
The Rocky Mountain and Great Plains Regions of the West have recently come into focus as a fuel source for an energy hungry nation. Development of eneigy resources will require compliance with, or regulation under many established "institutions." New institutions, such as plant siting permits and tougher environmental and land use controls are being established. A year ago the nation seemed to be moving rapidly towards Project Independence ~ achieving national self-sufficiency in energy production. Now there appear to be several factors that are combining to impede the energy development, and these include national, regional, and local policies, problems associated with financing, environmental concerns, and reluctance...
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Foliage and litter leachate from selected natural vegetation in the Price River Basin (within the Upper Colorado River basin) was studied to determine the probable impact of plants on the amount of diffuse salt movement from rangeland watersheds. Calculations using concentrations of various leachates and characteristics of range sites expected to be high salt annual salt load to the Price River. It was therefore concluded that plants are not a significant source of diffuse salt within the Colorado River Basin. Published in Journal of the American Water Resources Association, volume 14, issue 1, on pages 195 - 205, in 1978.
The Gunnison River in the Gunnison Gorge is a canyon river where upstream dams regulate mainstem discharge but do not affect debris-flow sediment supply from tributaries entering below the reservoirs. Regulation since 1966 has altered flood frequency, streambed mobility, and fluvial geomorphology creating potential resource-management issues. The duration of moderate streamflows between 32.3 and 85.0 m3/s has increased threefold since 1966. This, along with flood-peak attenuation, has facilitated fine-sediment deposition and vegetation encroachment on stream banks. The Shields equation and on-site channel geometry and bed-material measurements were used to assess changes in sediment entrainment in four fluvial reaches....
Our nation periodically reviews national water policy and considers its directions for the future. The most recent examination was directed at the western United States and the role of the federal agencies in meeting its needs. The West is no longer the frontier, but rather contains vibrant cities and booming centers of international trade, as well as tourism, mineral, and oil and gas development, agricultural, and other development. In this changing environment, federal water policies need to consider the long term sustainability of the West, provide justice to Indian tribes, protect the rivers and ecosystems on which natural systems depend, balance the needs of newcomers with those of agricultural users and communities,...
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This paper presents a method for determining the causes of salinization of surface waters, in this case the upper Colorado River and its tributaries in Texas. The analysis, which includes a combination of statistical analysis and graphical methods, indicates that among the sources of salt (e.g., saline ground water discharge into surface waters and storm runoff, both surface and shallow subsurface, and washing minerals into surface waters) the major contributor is saline ground water, which discharges into the river and streams. Data also points to salt plume intrusion into the river and streams from sources of salt in the aquifers. Published in Journal of the American Water Resources Association, volume 36, issue...
This paper briefly reviews the problem of ground water degradation from irrigation and present approaches to controlling ground water quality. As an alternative to these approaches, a management scheme called the Accelerated Salt TRANsport (ASTRAN) method is proposed as being a feasible solution to the problem of salt build-up in irrigated areas. A management algorithm for implementing the ASTRAN method is described. Results from modeling studies indicate that the ASTRAN method is cost-effective and encourages conjunctive use of ground water and surface water. Published in Journal of the American Water Resources Association, volume 12, issue 4, on pages 681 - 694, in 1976.
Water-resource managers need to forecast streamflow in the Lower Colorado River Basin to plan for water-resource projects and to operate reservoirs for water supply. Statistical forecasts of streamflow based on historical records of streamflow can be useful, but statistical assumptions, such as stationarity of flows, need to be evaluated. This study evaluated the relation between climatic fluctuations and stationarity and developed regression equations to forecast streamflow by using climatic fluctuations as explanatory variables. Climatic fluctuations were represented by the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO), Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO), and Southern Oscillation Index (SOI). Historical streamflow within...


map background search result map search result map Consumptive use of streamflow increases in the Colorado River basin A method for determining salt sources in surface waters' Natural vegetation as a source of diffuse salt within the Colorado River Basin Natural vegetation as a source of diffuse salt within the Colorado River Basin A method for determining salt sources in surface waters' Consumptive use of streamflow increases in the Colorado River basin