Modeling the Complexities of Water Supply, Water Demand, Instream Flows, and Sustainable Water Management Scenarios
The State Water Resources Control Board, through collaboration with Paradigm Environmental, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, and the North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board, is leading the development of hydrologic characterization models (hydrology models) for the South Fork Eel River and Shasta River watersheds. The purpose of the project is to support Action 4 of the California Action Plan, to “Protect and Restore Important Ecosystems,” specifically to implement a suite of individual and coordinated administrative efforts to enhance flows that support critical habitat for anadromous fish. These actions include developing defensible, cost-effective, and time-sensitive approaches to establish instream flows using sound science and a transparent public process. The development of hydrology models will provide the basis for assessments of the benefits and impacts of potential watershed management actions on fish habitat, existing water users, and other beneficial uses.
Hydrology model study plans for both the South Fork Eel River and Shasta River watersheds were developed with close stakeholder engagement to incorporate feedback on data, assumptions, and technical modeling approaches. Ongoing stakeholder engagement continues to be an important part of this model development effort. The study plans include a summary of available data in each watershed and include watershed characterization sections to establish a comprehensive and detailed understanding of the factors that influence hydrology in both watersheds, including climate conditions, watershed physical properties, geology, groundwater supplies, water rights, consumptive use of water, and other factors that influence instream flows. The models will incorporate several high-resolution spatial and temporal datasets and are being configured to facilitate evaluations of complex water management scenarios.
The presenters will provide an overview of model development to date, highlighting some of the high-resolution spatial and temporal datasets used to support the effort, and present preliminary model results. This presentation will provide the audience an understanding of the many complexities of hydrology including the effect of surface water/groundwater interactions on instream flows. The presenters will also highlight some of the unique characteristics of the South Fork Eel River and Shasta River watersheds in terms of existing water use, physical and hydrologic characteristics, and the management of datasets for meaningful model application in each watershed. The presenters will engage the audience on considerations that may be important for future model refinements and obtain audience feedback on representing those considerations in a model.