Sustainable Planning of Hydrology - Investigating the Balance of Water Demand, Water Supplies, and Instream Flows

Date / Time:
Wednesday, Sep 27 1:20pm to 1:50pm
Convention Center 203
Track / Session:
Sustainability Track / Groundwater and Bridging Barriers

The State Water Resources Control Board (State Water Board), through collaboration with Paradigm Environmental, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, and the North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board, has embarked on a project that will involve the development or technical refinement of hydrologic characterization models for two priority watersheds: South Fork Eel River and Shasta River. 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 project will consider multiple factors, including: instream flow recommendations developed through parallel efforts, water rights, consumptive use and associated diversions or groundwater pumping, and sustainable groundwater management planning associated with the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act. The development of hydrologic characterization models is one of the first of several efforts that the State Water Board will embark on to address the important initiative to enhance instream flows throughout California.

The initial task of this effort is to develop a comprehensive and detailed understanding of the factors that influence hydrology in these watersheds, including compilation of data and literature that characterize climate conditions, watershed physical properties, geology, groundwater supplies, water rights, consumptive use of water, and other factors that influence instream flows. For each of the two watersheds, detailed reports will be prepared in Summer 2017 that summarize available information and provide a characterization of hydrologic conditions. These characterizations will inform development of Study Plans that will define the technical approach for development of hydrology models that provide simulation of instream flows, quantify the water balances, and support the assessment of various scenarios to inform management decisions for sustainable water management to meet instream flow needs.

The watershed characterizations and Study Plans will be made available to stakeholders to obtain feedback on the data and assumptions and technical modeling approaches recommended. This process will provide assurance that the best available information is used in the analyses and the approaches are deemed acceptable to meet study objectives. Once the Study Plans have been finalized, modeling will commence for the two watersheds and further stakeholder engagement will occur on a regular basis throughout the project.

The presenters will provide an overview of the watershed characterizations for each of the two watersheds, which have unique differences in terms of surface water/groundwater management, water rights, and physical and hydrologic characteristics, among other factors. The purpose of this presentation is to provide the audience an understanding of the many complexities regarding hydrology and surface water/groundwater interactions and the impact on instream flows. The presenters will engage the audience on considerations that may be important for model development, and obtain audience feedback on technical approaches to represent these considerations in a model. The presenters will then provide a summary of the Study Plans and technical modeling approaches to be applied for each watershed. The presenters will fully describe the rationale for model selection, the process for model configuration, calibration and validation, and the capability to support various investigations and scenarios for consumptive water use, watershed management, or other considerations that can impact instream flows.

Primary Speaker:
John Riverson, Paradigm Environmental
Supporting Speaker 1:
Stephen Carter, Paradigm Environmental
Primary Speaker Biography: 

John is a principal of Paradigm Environmental with nationally recognized expertise in modeling and data analytics services. His applications include hydrological modeling, climate change assessment, stormwater and watershed management, water quality modeling, and pollutant source characterization.

Supporting Speakers Biographies: 

Steve is a principal of Paradigm Environmental and has supported numerous federal, state, and municipal clients in the areas of regulatory support, modeling, emerging stormwater engineering practices, and watershed and infrastructure planning.