Hydrology Lecture Notes III.

 

I. Water Resources Management: Water Supply and Control.

Water Resources Management:

•      Combines hydrology with planning, law, economics, aquatic biology, chemistry, engineering and often forestry.

 

•      Seeks to minimize flooding, insure water supply, maintain or improve water quality, provide irrigation water, improve recreation, maintain habitat.

 

Competing demands:

•      There are increasing demands on a finite supply of clean water for agriculture, industrial and municipal uses, to sustain natural environments, provide recreation,  generate electricity and disperse wastes.

•      Many of these uses are incompatible.

 

The best laid plans of mice and men…

•      Man modifies local hyrdology but only rarely affects the global or continental hydrologic environment:

•      Examples of global effects may include global warming and proposed water management schemes: NAWAPA and Russian schemes.

•      These would move water from the arctic

    to temperate and sub-tropical areas.

 

NAWAPA:

•       North American Water & Power Alliance: Idea move Canadian surplus water to South-west U.S. & Mexico.

 

Regional scale projects:

•      Some water resource management projects have altered the whole water balance of regions by inter-basin transfers.

•      Water is transferred from Colorado to Mississippi, From Great lakes to Mississippi and from all over CA. to LA.

•      The “Great Man-made River in Libya.

 

Regional Use of Water.

•      Water use in highest per capita in Idaho, Wyoming and Montana (Higher % of farmers).

•      Total water use highest in California.

•      Surface Water use highest in California, and Texas.

•      Groundwater use highest in Kansas,  Nebraska, Oklahoma and Texas.

 

Level of Water Resources Development:

•      Varies from region to region. California, Arizona and Nevada have most development.

•      In New England only 6% of water is consumed.

•      In California 42% consumed.

•      In Colorado River Basin of Southwest 98% or more consumed.

 

Dams

•      There are three main types of dams:

•      1. Arch Dams, 2. Embankment (gravity) dams, & 3. Buttress Dams

•      Dams can be made of: Reinforced concrete,  earth-fill (Clay/rock), Masonry (rare).

•      Most dams hold water for irrigation, power generation, flood control or recreation.

 

It won’t hold water (on purpose).

•      Some dams divert streams into irrigation channels (these are termed diversion structures).

•      Some dams store debris from floods but let water out gradually (these are debris basins).

•      Some dams are intended to replenish groundwater (these are recharge basins).

 

It won’t hold water (oops!)

•      Dam failures are rare but can happen.

•      Factors are:

•      Geologic setting (St. Francis).

•      Poor design (Malpassent, France)

•      Earthquakes or landslides (Santa Barbara & Italian dams).

•      Poor construction. (Teton Dam)

•      Poor maintenance: Folsom Dam, CA.

 

Other ways of Increasing water supply:

•      Building dams can be an answer, but not always. Is water flowing into ocean wasted? If all water in a basin is used adding a dam reduces available supply: example: Lake Mead & Powell.

•      Alternatives include: Infiltration basins, injection wells, wastewater reuse and desalinization.

•      Examples: Las Vegas. NV. Saudi Arabia.

 

Development of surface water:

•      Can bring electricity, irrigation water and recreation to arid lands.

•      But overuse of this resource causes:

–     Increasing salinity of water.

–   Loss of fisheries and habitat.

–   Loss of power production and navigation.

 

•    Examples: Colorado River.


II. Water Resources Economics & Politics.

 

The Golden Rules:

•      RULE I:

-      He who has the gold makes the rules…

 

•      RULE II:

 - Water flows up hill toward money…

 

Water Economics:

•      Low, Low Cost

•      Subsidized development

•      Common property resource

•      Subject to externalities

•      Lack of incentives for conservation

 

Common property resource

•      Water is often a resource held in common but owned by no one user. Therefore if one user doesn’t take his or her share other users will.

•      Therefore, not using as much water as possible as early as possible is not rewarded. In fact water law may penalize someone who fails to use the water even if they do not need it.

•      Also there is little incentive to conserve water or use it wisely.

 

Subject to externalities:

•      An externality is an action that causes impacts that affect other people besides the person that took the action.

•      Examples: air pollution, loud parties.

•      If a company or city dumps pollution into a stream or dries up the water in a creek or overdrafts a groundwater aquifer it will likely affect other people (as well as the natural environment).

 

Controlling externalities:

•      Many of the costs of water pollution or waste are felt by other people besides the ones causing the problem and therefore other sanctions like fines or rules are need to promote reasonability.

 

 Low, Low Cost

•      Water is not dirt cheap, it is far cheaper than dirt.

•      For municipal customers the costs can range from a high of 10 cents per gallon to typical costs of 1 cent per gallon to a hundredth of a cent per gallon.

Down on the farm…

•      Agricultural customers for water pay from a high .03 cents per gallon (or 2851 gallons per dollar) to a typical cost of 10,000 gallons per dollar to low costs of 100,000 gallons per dollar or less. At 100,000 gallons per dollar almost a million pounds of water will be delivered to a farmers fields for a payment of a dollar to the irrigation district.

 

Why so cheap?

•      Water is so inexpensive because it is fairly abundant and it is relatively easy to handle. It is however very expensive to pump uphill. Also water development projects usually are massive and therefore are beyond the ability of a single town or farmer to afford.

 

Pork Barrel Projects:

•      Many very questionable projects have been built in the U.S. using tax monies. So now by law all water projects must show that benefits exceed costs.

•      However, it is easy to make assumptions that can justify any project.

 

End of the Age of Big Water Projects?

•      1960 saw the greatest surge of water projects but Federal Deficits and a shortage of good projects as well as growing environmentalism has slowed development to a crawl.

•      A future crisis may trigger renewed development particularly from areas like Canada with abundant water.

 

Water Politics

•      Small well informed wealthy special interests vs. greater good of the country?

•      Water appropriations are very popular with members of congress from both parties.

•      Federal agencies (COE, USBR) conniving with “their” friend in congress against the sitting administration

 

Municipal Imperialism
New York City

•      Los Angeles

•      San Francisco

•      Denver

•      More recently Austin, Lubbock, Santa Fe etc.

 

Alliances between Cities & Framers and Federal Government 1900-196

•      Reclamation act of 1900 cements period of Federal government paying for large projects that capture spring flows make water and power available at little cost to cities and farmers.

 

Inter-State Rivalries

•      Rivalries between states develop even during period of Federal largess and up tapped resources.

•      Rivalries within states are now returning

•      Examples Lower Colorado River Authority Vs. ranchers and farmers.

 

Environmentalists Vs. Everybody (except the fish)

•      Oppose most water projects.

•      Dams no longer seen as “conservation” measures but as “damming the environment.

•      Glen Canyon Dam a turning point in attitudes. Two Forks Dam in Colorado.

•      Push conservation and conversion, even removal of existing dams.

 

T Boone Pickins and Mesa Water.

•      Oil Entrepreneur T. Boone Pickins obtains Roberts County Groundwater Rights can he wheel water to the highest bidder.

 

A Global Business

•      Enron invests in French and British water utilities.

•      Towing icebergs to the Persian gulf.

•      Will Minnesota be the richest state in the future?

 

Role of Government:

•      As a result subsidized development has been the rule around the world.

•      This usually takes the form of multi-purpose projects which claim to provide water for agriculture, industry and municipal uses, flood control and generation of hydroelectric power and recreational opportunities.

 

Role of Federal Agencies

•      U.S. Army Corps of Engineers: Dams in east, flood control navigation, wetlands.

•      U.S. Bureau of Reclamation: 17 western states, water and power supply dams, aqueducts.

•      Environmental Protection agency: water quality.

•      Fish and Wildlife service: Endangered species some fisheries.

•      State water development agencies, state fish and game agencies. Less money but enforce most laws and water rights.


 

III. Lec. 34. Water Law.

 

The Golden Rules:

•      RULE I:

-      He who has the gold makes the rules…

 

•      RULE II:

 - Water flows up hill toward money…

 

 

Water Law:

•      Public versus private ownership

•      Riparian Water rights

•      Appropriative water rights

•      Groundwater rights

•      Other water rights

 

Public versus private ownership:

•      In many places water was owned by the city, the state or by the King: Arab lands, Rome, Spain and Mexico.

•      This made sense in arid areas: fights were avoided and water shared and developed (Kanats, aqueducts built).

•      In contrast, in England and northern Europe there was plenty of water so water became a private property right like a house or an agricultural field.

 

 

Riparian Water rights.

•      The English concept of ownership of water in a stream depended on ownership of the land through which the stream flowed.

•      Since stream often formed property boundaries ownership of the stream bank on one side was all that was required to use water in the stream for any use.

 

Rip what?

•      Since the area adjacent to a stream is called the riparian area this type of right to use water was and is called a riparian water right.

 

Riparian Doctrine in the U.S.

•      When settlers came to the original 13 colonies there was plenty of water, so the English set of laws (called a doctrine) of riparian water rights was adopted.

•      This type of law worked well throughout the well watered east. Particularly before modern engineering allowed the construction of large dams.

•      To this day the riparian doctrine holds in many states.

 

Where Riparian Doctrine holds:

•      All states east of the Mississippi River use it except Florida, Iowa and Mississippi.

•      Limitations: one must own land adjacent to  stream from which water is taken and that the right is requires sharing with other users not an entitlement to a fixed amount. Hence in drought all users may have to cut back.

•      Also in some states water may not be removed from the watershed in which it originated.

 

 

Advantages & Disadvantages:

•      Good: It has the advantage of being simple to enforce and reflecting the value of water in the price of land.

•      Bad: It does not foster cooperation in developing water resources or moving water from areas of abundance to areas of scarcity where its value may be higher.

•      Therefore only works well in uniformly well-watered areas.

 

Appropriative water rights.

•      When the arid west was settled, people initially used riparian doctrine. This worked until large scale development of mining required water.

•      Miners diverted streams with aqueducts (flumes) to move water to pay dirt. Most land was public, no one wanted to buy it merely move water over it.

•      However, miners with various claims might all want to use water from the same stream.

 

Solution Appropriative doctrine:

•      Thus conflicts arose. Such as the Starr County Wyoming “range war” of 1870.

•      State legislatures in the west invented a new doctrine first used in California and Colorado called “prior appropriation”.

 

Prior Appropriation:

•      In appropriation, the first person to build a dam or diversion structure on a stream was entitled to take (or appropriate) as much water as he wanted and there no requirement to own the land where the dam and/or aqueduct was located.

 

Limitations:

•       The appropriative doctrine requires that the appropriator actually take and use the water and the use has to be of some benefit to him. If the appropriators ever fails to use the water or uses less of it, then they may be limited or may actually lose their right in the future.

 

 

There's ‘propriation in them thar hills:

•      States that use the appropriative doctrine include Texas and every other state west of the Mississippi except California and Washington.

 

Its my water, cause of my great great grand-pappy back in 1849…

•      In the appropriative system a user could totally dry up a stream. So there are limits set.

•      If there is not enough water to provide for the “water rights” of every appropriator, then the date when the first appropriator took water out for the first time (back in ’49) will be used to determine the priority of water rights

•      This “senior” or prior appropriator will get all the water he wants, then the next most senior appropriator will and so on.

 

Who calls the shots:

•      A state agency determines how much water can be taken based on the typical flow in the stream and needs of other users. Often this organization is called the State Engineers Office. In Texas it is the Texas Water Rights Board.

•      Example: South Platte River.

 

Other Water Rights Systems:

•      California, Washington, have both appropriative and riparian water rights systems in some cases and locations. This inconsistency makes lost of work for Lawyers.

•      Why do these two states have two systems??

•      Florida, Iowa and Mississippi require State permits for all water rights.

•      Also, some states recognize that cities have a stronger right than agriculture.

 

Indian & Pueblo Water rights:

•      The Wright decision. 1901: Federal Gov. has obligation to provide tribes water adequate to irrigate all arable lands.

•      Pueblo Rights: In New Mexico and California existing rights of Mexican towns (pueblos) under 1846 treaty have been transferred to the cities of today (For example right of LA to water of the LA river and groundwater basin).

 

Other legal technicalities:

•      Federal laws such as the Endangered Species Act takes precedence over state law.

•      Some states allow sale of contracts for water, but most actually require ownership of land or construction of a dam or aqueduct and use of the diverted water to establish ownership.  Now such Wheeling is a very hot topic.

•      Examples: Robertson County, Texas, Parachute Colorado.

 

Limitations on Water Rights.

•      Endangered Species Act. Prohibits “harm” to a “listed” species.

•      Over 450 listed species.

•      Many are aquatic or riparian.

 

Public Trust Doctrine:

•      Iowa, California and Colorado; the State may prohibit projects that require state permits, if project would wipe out in-stream flows needed for fish and wildlife.

•      Example: Diversion of streams feeding Mono Lake.

 

Reclamation Law:

•      Federally chartered irrigation districts get water sufficient for their needs.

•      Only cost they pay is for operation and maintenance and paying off construction loans at 0% interest over 50 years.

 

Groundwater rights:

•      Since judges and legislatures did not understand the behavior of groundwater, groundwater law is really complex and weird in many states.

•      The three doctrines that are common are: Absolute Ownership, Reasonable Use, and State Issued Permit.

 

Absolute ownership

•      All the water that can be pumped out from any number of wells on your land.

•      Texas is one of the very few states that has this approach.

•      Others are West Virginia, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, and Louisiana.

•      Why these states?

 

Reasonable use:

•       Take as much as you can use without wasting the water. California, Washington, Tennessee

•      South Carolina and Ohio and Missouri use this approach.

•      Part of reasonable use doctrine is correlative rights: that is take as much as you can use without wasting it and without hurting other neighboring users of the same groundwater aquifer. If you hurt them they can sue you.

 

State permit systems:

•       Get a permit from the State Engineer based on safe yield of aquifer and reasonable use and future estimates of demand.

•      Most other States Including Oklahoma, New Mexico, Colorado, Arkansas, Oregon, Nevada, New York, Pennsylvania, Florida use this method.

 

Special Case:

•      Utah is somewhat unique in that most water was divided up by the Mormon (LDS) Church prior to statehood in 1890.

•      So water rights law suites are rare.

 

Interstate Rights & Conflicts.

•      All water laws (except inter-state compacts) in the US are made by state legislatures.

•      What happens when a river flows through several states?

•      If the states can agree a “compact” (an agreement) dividing up the water that has the force of law is negotiated. Usually the U.S. Congress passes the compact as a federal law and the Federal courts interpret disputes.

 

A compact list of compacts:

•      Examples of Rivers with compacts: Red, Sabine, Rio Grande, Colorado. This can still cause problems:

•      Example: Colorado River compact and “Arizona Vs. California”.

 

International disputes:

•      There is no real means short of war or treaties based on horse-trading of resolving international water disputes.

•      Examples of disputes: Danube River Dam, Rhine River Pollution.

•      U.S. Mexico Disputes: Colorado River, Alamo river and Rio Grande.

•      Biggest future headache: the Middle East.

 


IV. Droughts.

 

What is a drought?

•      A Flood can be clearly defined by reference of water level in a river, called the stage. Flood stage is a measure of stage above the banks.

•      In contrast, a drought is less quantified.  A definition could be:

 

Definition:

•      “A prolonged period of below average precipitation”.

•      Specific definitions for given river basins exist: “average flow for months of Jan-June at point x on Sacramento River is less than 75% of average for all recorded flows”.

 

How dry is dry:

•      Regional & Climatic Factors and water management methods can influence occurrence of droughts.

•      Examples: California, is drought prone and susceptible to prolonged droughts Nevada, is less susceptible since so arid. West Texas, is more drought prone but may be less susceptible to impacts than Central Texas or East Texas.

•      2 months of low precipitation in England or east coast can cause emergency.

 

Historic Droughts:

•      West 1870's “Rain follows the plow” Not!

•      Dust bowl 1930's.

•      Sahel 1970's-1980's.

•      California: 1870's, 1901-05, 51-57, 85-91.

•      Texas 52-57 (“the time in never rained”)

•      Massachusetts, summer 1993.

•      Texas, South-west  1995-1996, 1999-2000.

 

Impacts of droughts:

•      Crop failure.

•      Grazing problems.

•      City water supplies.

•      Loss of stream flow & decline in quality.

•      Wildlife impacts.

•      Erosion of soils (dust storms).

 

 

 

Salinization & Drainage problems:

•     Avoid salinazation with drains.

•     Tile drains or extra water causes  problems: Example: Kesterton.

•     Irrigation strips nutrients and toxic compounds from soil so water conservation helps to preserve soil & reduce water pollution.

 

Case I: Or How I Survived the Great California Drought:

•      South Coast area of California 1985-1992:

•      Statistics: Precipitation: average 19 inches rainfall/yr, up to 45 in. in watershed of Lake Cachuma.

•      Rainfall 1984 22 inches, 1985: 12 inches, 1986: 14 inches, 1987: 11 inches, 1988, 9 inches, 1989: 7 inches, 1990: 11 inches, 1991: 14 inches,

•      1992: 27 inches.

 

Sources of Water:

•      Total use 120,000 acre feet per year for area with 250,000 people, some agriculture.

•      Sources: groundwater supplies 40,000 AFY, Surface water 80,000 AFY

•      From: Lake Gibraltar capacity 22,000 AF, Lake Cachuma capacity 380,000 AF.

•      No other sources.

 

 

Hydrologic Impact:

•      All streams and rivers ceased flowing including Santa Ynez (typical flow 500 CFS). By 1989 Lake Gibraltar dry, by 1991 Lake Cachuma at 10% of capacity. Arson fire in 1991 destroys 580 homes, numerous trees die.

 

Societal Impact:

•      Plants began to die.

•      Cafι’s quit serving water.

•      People began to steel water from each other.

•      Car washes, laundro-mats raise prices then quit business.

•      My wife rented a room (for $250/mo) her landlord insisted: 1 load of laundry per week, no showers (bath water reused) don’t you dare flush the toilet…

 

Policy Responses.

•      “Drought emergency regulations:” in 1985 stage 1 no lawn watering before dark.

•      1987 Stage 2. No sprinklers, low flow shower heads, toilets, no new water meters.

•      1989 Stage 3 No watering with hose (only bucket), Water rates doubled for consumption above 50% of pre-drought level, car washes Laundromats closed, apartments install water meters in each unit.

 

 

 

Engineering Responses I:

•      Grey water project $8 million to pipe treated sewage water to golf course, problem that TDS level is high tends to kill grass, requires extra water to wash accumulate salts from soil also conservation increases the solids content of sewage making plant operations very difficult.1987-1991,

 

 

Engineering Responses II:

•      Desalination plant 1992. Designed to yield 10,000 acre feet per year capital cost of $30 million operating costs of $10 million. Compare with Cachuma water sold to city for $33 per acre foot.

•      Only operated for 2 months since costs high quality low and reservoirs full when brought on line.

 

Only in California?

•      Crack-pot solutions: Icebergs, “super-water tankers”.

•      Pave it and paint it green: Some lawns spray painted.

•      Some developers waste water to change zoning.

•      Millionaires fight billionaires over water usage or “King Simon vs. the little people”

•      Lawyers have a busy time or “you are taking more than your 17/256th share, so we sue”.

 

Indirect effects:

•      Drought devastated wildlife.

•      By June 28 1992 drought had set stage for worst wildfire in Santa Barbara History (the Painted Cave Fire)

 

Case II: Drying up Mono Lake 1940-1982.

•      Large Saline lake in closed basin east of Yosemite.

•      High Altitude. Had fish in Ice age and as recently as 1860's, but lake levels have fallen several hundred feet since then.

•      Has brine shrimp and brine flies. Huge sea gull population and other migrating water fowl.

•      Wizard Island.

Man at mono-lake:

•      In 1940 L.A. diverted 4 of 5 feeder streams (75,000 acre feet per year out of 90,000).

•      Lake level down is now 75 feet.

•      Wizard island connected to mainland in 1977.

•      Anger over “Murder of Mono Lake” leads to bombings other “eco-terrorism” in 1977-1978 drought.

•      Catastrophic event predicted by scientists when TDS exceeds 65,000 PPM.

•      Successful law suit due to release of trout into Rush Creek in 1982.

•      Now lake level is recovering, diversions reduced by 50%.

 

Saving Mono-lake:

•      Save Mono lake campaign with committee bumper stickers etc.

•      Forest service protects watershed as a “natural area”

•      Law suit forces LADWP to cut diversions by 50%. Due to reestablishment of interpretation of Calif. Fish and Game Act.

 

Case III:  Texas Droughts 1996, 1998-2002

•      Edgewood, Texas 1996.

•      History. Small town (1,500) entirely dependent on small municipal reservoir with 500 acre foot capacity. No wells due to salinity of water. SRA warns city of peril as early as 1970's, reservoir very low in mid 80's.

 

 

Texas drought 1998-2000.

•      Deficit in precipitation each year in central Texas.

•      Over 80 days without rain in Dallas in 2000.

•      Over $3 billion in cumulative agricultural losses.

•      Many towns with drought restrictions including Houston, Throckmorton.

 

Texas Drought 2000-2002

•      Part of drought affecting entire South-west.

•      Affecting mostly Southern & Western Texas.

•      Flow in Rio Grande greatly reduced (does not reach sea)

•      Rains in July help central, far South Texas.

•      Squabbles with Mexico over  3 million acre foot debt under Rio Bravo compact.

 

Drought responses.

•      Texas Drought begun in winter 1995 lasts until Aug 1996, total deficit in rainfall about 12 inches out of 24. Reservoir dry by late July. TWDB spends $25 million of state funds to build emergency pipeline to Lake Tawokani

•      Impacts. Water rationing  begun June, Tanker trucks needed in July as quality deteriorates. 

•      Same thing happened in Throckmorton, Texas in 2000.

•      Farmers in Webb, Hildago Counties cut off in 2002.

 

 

 

 

Lessons?

•      Santa Barbara  had warnings of water shortage by USGS in 1892, built Gibraltar reservoir 1922, by 1950's running low, built Cachuma 1957's.

•      By 1970's running low, choose not to build aqueduct to limit growth. Drought produces conservation measures and poor engineering projects.

 

Inaction is not a solution.

•       Edgewood (Throckmorton, less so) avoided building needed  pipeline due to weak, incompetent local government. Wanted growth, but did not want to burden taxpayers with related costs. Prayed for rain but made no conservation efforts. Last minute pipeline, State paid more than for a permanent one, not built at last.

•      How many other Edgewoods are there?

 

Drought control methods:

•      Rainmakers.

•      Cloud seeding.

•      Conjunctive water management.

•      Multiple sources.

•      Conservation.

•      Wastewater/ greywater reuse.

•      Desalinization.

 

Are Droughts becoming more common?

•      Probably, yes. Vulnerability certainly is.

•      DarwinThe jungles came before man, the deserts after”

•      Climate change.

•      Desertification.

•      Increasing urban and agricultural water demand not matched by supply.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

V. Floods!

 

Floods through history:

•      Most civilizations have traditions of great floods.

•      Noah, Legend of Gilgamish

•      This is because most early civilizations were located on flood plains. The Indus Valley, Mesopotamia and Yellow River (Chinese) civilizations were very flood prone. The Egyptian civilization less so.

•      Why?

From the Epic of Gilgamesh Circa 2500 B.C.

•      “Once the Gods destroyed Shuruppah in a great flood…six days and nights a south storm swept the land…On the seventh day the city was gone…”

 

More Recent history:

•      California (Central Valley) 1867, 1996.

•      Johnstown, PA 1880's, 1920.

•      Ohio and Mississippi 1903, 1916, 1928.

•      China: Yellow R. 1930's, Yangtze 1998.

•      Florence, Italy 1962.

•      Bangladesh 1970's.

•      Hurricane Agnes 1973.

•      Mississippi (middle portion) 1993 (largest).

 

Types of floods:

•      Regional Floods Versus Local.

•      Flash floods versus longer duration floods.

•      Dam collapse.

•      Storm surge from hurricanes.

 

Flash Floods

•      Usually in arid or semi-arid areas

•      Mountainous areas

•      Small basins

•      Thunderstorms usual source.

•      Examples: Nelson Wash flood 1969.

•      Debris flows (mostly in West & Southwest)

 

 

Regional Flood Examples:

•      Spring floods rainfall + snowmelt (1928  all along the Mississippi), 1962 flood in California,

•      Snow-melt: Reno Nevada, Salt Lake City Utah 1984, Midwest 1995.

•      Wet summer (monsoon) Arizona 1992, Middle Mississippi River 1993.

•      Flood due to inland hurricane: Hurricane Agnes.

•      Coastal Flood from hurricane storm surge  Galveston, Camille, Cyclones in Bangladesh.

 

 

Dam Collapse

•      Johnstown PA 1887

•      San Francisquito Canyon 1927

•      Buffalo Creek 1973

•      Teton Dam Wyoming 1990.

•      Italian Alps (landslide into lake) 1990.

 

Local Floods:

•      Local floods involve a single area or river:

•      Flash flood in River Gorge: Big Thompson River Colorado.

•      Locally heavy rainfall:  Rapid City, South Dakota, Lynmouth, England.

 

 

Local Local Floods…

•      Texas has had significant floods affecting only a single river basin or region.

•      1991 flood in Hill country  Leon River, Little River, (the Christmas flood)

•      October 1994 Flood on Trinity River.

•      October 1998 Flood on Guadalupe River.

 

Global examples:

•      Flooding in South-east Asia Now.

•      Cyclonic storms in Bay of Bengal 1970

•      Mozambique flooding 2000

•      Chinese Floods of 1999.

•      Italian Flooding of 1962

Impact of floods:

•      Water exerts tremendous force: Force increases exponentially with velocity.

•      Examples: Collapse of San Francisquito Dam, Buffalo Creek.

•      Low water crossings: Drive fast or slow?

•      Water can reshape the landscape:

•      Examples: Missoula flood, debris flows.

•      Floods strip top soil, cause siltation and undermine roads, wash away bridges and otherwise damage human property.

Why I like floods…

•      Floods have a mixed ecological impact.

•      Existence of rich soils is usually associated with flooding in past.

•      Floods that are not channelized inundate swamps and create beaches & backwaters where fish spawn.

•      Example: Grand Canyon.

•      Most animals can adapt to floods.

 

Structural flood control measures include:

•      Levees & Channelization.

•      Dredging.

•      Debris basins & Retention basins

•      Dams & Weirs.

•      Gabions & Rip-rap.

•      Sills & Terraces.

 

Non-structural solutions:

•      Controls on land use.

•      Changes in disaster and flood insurance.

•      Contour plowing and conservation tillage.

•      Promotion of riparian vegetation.

•      Creation of wetlands and backwaters.

•      Creation of green-belts/floodway parks.

•     But pressure for human use grows:

•      Example: LA River Freeway.

 

Flood Parameters:

•      Design of flood control structures depends on estimation of rain-fall/run-off relationships,  response time of basins and recurrence interval of storms events exceeding a given size.

•      For entire basins it is complex since these parameters must be used along with estimates of spring (or other seasonal) run-off. Also hydrographs for various flows and inputs from various parts of the system must be included.

•      Example: TRA & Lake Livingston.

 

Flood Prediction:

•      Rainfall gages.

•      Snow course surveys.

•      Radar.

•      Rainfall-run-off models.

•      Hydraulic Models.

•      GIS.

 

You aint seen nuthin yet…

•      Are floods worsening?

•      Given only 50-100 years of data it is hard to say, but it appears that frequency of peak flows exceeding a given level is becoming more common.

•      Especially, the decade of the 1990's has seen many record breaking floods.

•      Possible reasons: Oscillations in climate, change in climate, change in landuse.

 

 

CONCLUSION:

•      Certainly for any given flood magnitude, the impacts are likely to be worse as more and more people occupy land particularly in flood plains.

•      Therefore, the need to balance development with finding a place for flood waters to go and controlling land use in flood plains is more important than ever.


VI. GIS & Computer Models in Hydrology.

 

What is a GIS.

•      A group of computer programs to store, analyze and out-put maps and reports about geographic features linked to descriptive attribute data.

•      Stored in co-registered layers.

•      Supports many types of modeling and spatial analysis.

 

 Water Resources Applications:

•      Infrastructure management (piping, pressure, service areas, billing, etc).

•      Environmental impact assessment.

•      Watershed study & protection

•      Water quality analysis

•      Groundwater management & modeling.

•      Allocation & administration of water rights.

Infrastructure management

•      Map & manage piping (where are your underground assets)

•      Determine pressures and losses within system

•      Establish  service areas

•      Track billing, etc.

 

Environmental impact assessment.

•      Look at impact of water resources development projects.

•      Study pipeline corridor alignment & routes

•      determine environmental impacts of groundwater withdrawals

•      see area to be inundated by reservoirs.

 

Flood mapping.

•      FEMA program.

•      Other projects.

•      Issues: contour interval.

•      Accumulation of flood waters.

•      Use of remotely sensed imagery.

 

 

Water quality analysis.

•      Take data on soils, landuse locations and types of pollution

•      Develop model of water quality impacts from both point & non-point sources.

•       Adjust land-use and treatment plant locations and hydrologic parameters to decide how best to manage receiving body water quality.

 

 

Allocation & administration of water rights.

•       Input Hydrography, flow information, with drawl points existing water rights and and criteria such as in-stream flow requirements

•      Use network models and spatial optimization

•      Allocate water among competing users.

 

 

 

Groundwater management & modeling.

•      put in data about soils geology, recharge discharge, wells and aquifers

•       Establish a model of an aquifer (using modflow)

•      Determine  impact of pumping on water levels in aquifer over many years and simulate various scenarios such as artificial recharge or reduced agricultural pumping..

 

 

Examples:

•      Las Vegas Water District Infrastructure management

•      Southern Nevada Water Authority Cooperative Water Project

 

Other examples:

•      Big Darby Creek Watershed Study

•      Central Valley of California Water Resources Decision Support System.

•      Albuquerque NM groundwater study.

 

Computer Models

•      Surface water models: HEC, CAS2D, WMS

•      Groundwater flow models: MODFLOW and others.

Contaminant Transport models: MOC, MT3D & others.

 

 

 

 

 

 


VII. ROLE OF WATER IN ECOSYSTEMS:

 

Water’s Role in the Environment.

•      Water plays a key role is sustaining all organisms. But human activities can drastically affect rivers and lakes.

•       Water provides habitats.

•      Some impacts of human use and development are beneficial, some are detrimental.

 

WATER IS LIFE!.

•      All known life depends on the presence of liquid water.

In the beginning…

•      Life evolved in a warm, liquid and  mildly saline environment. This is still needed to provide an environment for cell growth. Our blood is such an environment.

•      This environment can be external, or for terrestrial animals has been created inside their bodies.

•      Aquatic life is now diverse and adapted to many habitats.

 

No water = No life.

•      Absence of liquid water implies an absence of life:

•      Examples:

•      Dry Valleys in Antarctica,

•       Devils golf course.

 

Habitat types:

•      Life can survive in the thin film of water absorbed on soil particles: Deep microorganisms.

•      In the greatest depths of the sea: Deep sea vents.

•      In near-boiling hot springs: Iceland

•      In the driest deserts: Kalahari.

 

 

Mucho Agua, mucho viva.

•      But where water and warmth are abundant life is prolific.

•      Examples:

•      Tropical rain forests: i.e. the Amazon.

•      Estuaries.

•      Coral Reefs.

 

 

Aquatic Ecology:

•     Food chains or web?

•     Productivity.

 

 

Man is an integral part of nature and natural ecosystems.

•      Humans and their activities are a part of the complex web of aquatic life

•      Man can have a beneficial or detrimental impact.

 

Human Impacts of Aquatic Ecosystems

•      Loss of flow.

•      Pollution

•      Acid Rain

•      Dams

•      Forestry

•      Fishing

Loss of Flow:

 

•    Examples:

–   Colorado River,

–   Owens River,

–   Pecos River.

 

Aquatic pollution & life.

•      Water pollution can affect aquatic life in a number of ways.

•      Biological oxygen demand BOD is a measure of the ability of an organic waste to use up dissolved oxygen (DO). Raw sewage has a high BOD. High BOD will mean low DO and hence death of higher organisms like fish.

 

Forestry & siltation:

•      Timber harvesting can clog streams with sediment interfering with spawning.

 

Dam dams…

Water resource projects can impact

wildlife and ecosystems both positively and

 negatively.

Are blamed for destruction of salmon runs

 in pacific northwest.

 

Not all bad:

•      Not all impacts are negative: Creation of lakes has greatly increased Bald Eagle habitat.

•      Which do you prefer, gar or striped bass, white bass or paddle fish?

Spawn no more:

•      Dams can cut off spawning runs:

 

•      Examples:

- Colombia/Snake River Salmon run.

 

Dammed Beavers

•      Humans are not the only beings that construct dams.

•      So do large rodents called beavers.

•      Beaver dams can have a major impact on ecosystems.

•      They create ponds and ultimately meadows.

 

Riparian Zones

•      In arid areas Riparian Zones are critical habitat.

•      Loss of surface water flows due to groundwater overdraft and/or diversion can shrink or eliminate these zones.

 

Wetlands

•      Wetlands provide: detention storage of flood waters thus reducing flood damage,

•      Recharge of groundwater aquifers,

•      Input of nutrients into aquatic environments,

•      Break-down of harmful water pollutants

•      Habitat for development of fish and aquatic species.

 

Status:

•      About 50% of all wetlands in U.S. have been drained mostly lost to farmland and now urbanization.

•       Loss rate has declined and some wetlands have been restored or even created.

 

Protection:

•      Wetlands are recognized as a resource not something to be dreaded or drained.

•      Protected by section 404 of Clean Water Act also somewhat by NEPA.

•      National Wetlands Inventory program in National Biological Survey to map wetlands.

•      Requirement for COE permit and possible mitigation and/or banking.

•      Source of controversy.

 

Case studies of aquatic life:

•      Ash Meadows,

•      Boulder Creek, 

•      Lake Eire,

•      Galveston Bay.

 Ash Meadows, Nevada.

•      Area of springs and pools on edge of Death Valley in Western Nevada, home of 22 species found no where else.

•      Including 3 Fish, a toad and a beetle.

•      Devils hole is nearby, Karstic  “Fossil water”

•      Agricultural development and “sun city death valley”

•      Now part of National Park.

•      Habitat restored: a home for the riffle beetle...

 

Boulder Creek/Green River.

•      Large stream in Wind Rivers Mountains of Wyoming.

•      Starts at 12,000 feet with snow melt flows into Green River at 7,000 feet.

•      Has hundreds of alpine lakes in drainage also fills large terminal moraine lake (Boulder Lake) at 8,000 foot level.

 

 

Life in Boulder Creek:

•      Golden Trout above 9,000 feet.

•       Cold, high velocity has Cutthroat Trout ( Native).

•      Small side streams have Brook Trout.

•      Many Rainbow Trout (very adaptable).

•      Slow areas: Brown Trout.

•      Lake has Kokanee Salmon and Lake Trout (to 40 lbs).

•      Grayling in Scab Creek drainage.

•      Most food is aquatic,  some terrestrial insects. Many high lakes can freeze-out are a harsh environment.

•      Lower portion has been degraded due to overgrazing and bank erosion and water withdrawals for ranches.

 

 

Lake Erie:

•      Large Fresh water lake.

•      Cuyahoga river (the one that caught fire in 1968) and many rivers in the rust belt empty into smallest of the Great Lakes.

•      The death of Lake Erie was predicted.

•      Also Lampreys were introduced.

•      Toxic levels of DDT, PCBs and mercury on many fish.

 

Saving Lake Erie:

•      Clean water act of 1970 and ban on some toxins began recovery.

•      Coho Salmon were introduced.

•      Program to block spawning of lamprey with electroshocking and rotenone has succeeded.

•      However, other threats remain High levels of toxins in some bottom fish and the Zebra Mussel.

 

 Galveston Bay.

•      Trinity, & San Jacinto Rivers empty into the commercial shipping hub of Texas.

•      Mixing of nutrients and salt with fresh water leads to high productivity.

•      Problems: Lower inflows of fresh water.

•      Pollution from channel industries, (MOTCO), oil spills.

•      Too much or too little sediment.

•      Oyster beds and shrimp harvest down, drum and bottom fish contaminated.

•      Dredging is a mixed blessing but disposal of dredge spoils is a problem.

 


 

 

 

VII. Wise Water Use and Conservation.

 

Two paths: Wise use or exploitation.

•      Exploitation: Take all the resource with little or no concern for impact on environment : Example Owens Valley, California.

•      Wise use balance needs against long tern impact, use many methods including development, conservation and preservation.

Example of Exploitation:
The Owens Valley

•      Mountain rimed “deepest valley” in America. 250 miles north-east of L.A.

•      Tapped  in 1900’s for LA municipal water.

•      Water rights acquired surreptitiously.

•      Ignited a “water war”, which LA won.

•      2nd aqueduct in 70’s to tap groundwater.

•      Now 95% of Valley is a “water colony”.

 

Wise use of water

•      Is needed, since lack of planning can lead to crisis.

•      But it is difficult since costs are high and interests are entrenched, but planning for future is essential or..

•      Ben Franklin’s observation that “We only learn the true value water when the well runs dry…” will be proved right once again.

 

Conservation:

•      In agriculture switch to drip irrigation or low water use crops.

•      In industry recycle water.

•      In domestic supply switch to xerascape plants, low flow toilets and shower heads, reuse “grey water”.

•      Waste water recycling is increasing. Example: Phoenix, AZ, Las Vegas, NV.

 

AGRICULTURAL WATER CONSERVATION.

•     Many conservation methods available: 

•     - Drip irrigation,

•     - irrigation scheduling,

•     - replacement crops,

•     - abandonment of land to native plants.

 

 

 

 

Magnitude of Potential Agricultural Conservation:

•      Agriculture can probably same 10% at no net cost and 30% without reduction in production. Since agriculture uses 50%-90% of the water in each state this saving is huge. Unfortunately no incentives exist in most cases.

•      Example: All American Canal project.

 

 

Domestic Conservation

•      Residential water use can be cut 30% painlessly: Low flow toilets (1.6 vs. 5 gal) fix leaks, mist shower heads, replace grass with rock, etc.

•      Low flow toilets and shower heads, Xerascape, Reuse of greywater.

•      Changes in behavior:

–    Bumper stickers: “Do  Not Wash! Scientific Dirt Test in Progress” & Conserve Water:  or

–    “Take a shower with a Friend!”

 

 

 

 

Industrial conservation.

•      Pollution control rules have caused industry to discharge less/recycle more

•      Some areas like ship channel have switched sources from groundwater to surface water.

•      Some industries have sold water rights.

•      Some industries have reengineered

•      Example: Miller Brewing Co.

 

 

Water Conservation Examples.

•      Example Mirage hotel uses only 300 acre feet per year. Less than a mid-sized farm.

•      Recycles greywater, pumps perched groundwater and treats it with reverse osmosis. Uses xerascaping in some areas drip irrigation in others.

 

 

 

Why is water conservation not more common?

•     Conservation methods  cost $.

•     Water is cheaper than dirt, so conservation is economically unattractive.

•     Some uses are more economically rewarding than others.

•     Example: irrigated pasture.

 

 

 


Lec 43. Conservation.

Two paths: Wise use or exploitation.

•      Exploitation: Take all the resource with little or no concern for impact on environment : Example Owens Valley, California.

•      Wise use balance needs against long tern impact, use many methods including development, conservation and preservation.

Example of Exploitation:
The Owens Valley

•      Mountain rimed “deepest valley” in America. 250 miles north-east of L.A.

•      Tapped  in 1900’s for LA municipal water.

•      Water rights acquired surreptitiously.

•      Ignited a “water war”, which LA won.

•      2nd aqueduct in 70’s to tap groundwater.

•      Now 95% of Valley is a “water colony”.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wise use of water

•      Is needed, since lack of planning can lead to crisis.

•      But it is difficult since costs are high and interests are entrenched, but planning for future is essential or..

•      Ben Franklin’s observation that “We only learn the true value water when the well runs dry…” will be proved right once again.

Conservation:

•      In agriculture switch to drip irrigation or low water use crops.

•      In industry recycle water.

•      In domestic supply switch to xerascape plants, low flow toilets and shower heads, reuse “grey water”.

•      Waste water recycling is increasing. Example: Phoenix, AZ, Las Vegas, NV.

AGRICULTURAL WATER CONSERVATION.

•     Many conservation methods available: 

•     - Drip irrigation,

•     - irrigation scheduling,

•     - replacement crops,

•     - abandonment of land to native plants.

 

 

 

 

Magnitude of Potential Agricultural Conservation:

•      Agriculture can probably same 10% at no net cost and 30% without reduction in production. Since agriculture uses 50%-90% of the water in each state this saving is huge. Unfortunately no incentives exist in most cases.

•      Example: All American Canal project.

 

 

Domestic Conservation

•      Residential water use can be cut 30% painlessly: Low flow toilets (1.6 vs. 5 gal) fix leaks, mist shower heads, replace grass with rock, etc.

•      Low flow toilets and shower heads, Xerascape, Reuse of greywater.

•      Changes in behavior:

–    Bumper stickers: “Do  Not Wash! Scientific Dirt Test in Progress” & Conserve Water:  or

–    “Take a shower with a Friend!”

 

 

 

 

Industrial conservation.

•      Pollution control rules have caused industry to discharge less/recycle more

•      Some areas like ship channel have switched sources from groundwater to surface water.

•      Some industries have sold water rights.

•      Some industries have reengineered

•      Example: Miller Brewing Co.

 

 

Water Conservation Examples.

•      Example Mirage hotel uses only 300 acre feet per year. Less than a mid-sized farm.

•      Recycles greywater, pumps perched groundwater and treats it with reverse osmosis. Uses xerascaping in some areas drip irrigation in others.

 

 

 

 

 

“Wheeling” Water

•      “Wheeling” is transferring a water right.

•      Usually this involves transfer from agriculture to urban users in the same state.

•      However, sometimes urban users have paid for conservation measures and taken the water that was saved.

•      Example Imperial Irrigation District/MWD.

 

 

 

 

Why is water conservation not more common?

•     Conservation methods  cost $.

•     Water is cheaper than dirt, so conservation is economically unattractive.

•     Some uses are more economically rewarding than others.

•     Example: irrigated pasture.

 

New sources of water:

•      Good quality surface water sources are generally already used to a high degree.

•      Only by taking away water from one group can additional surface water supplies be developed in most local areas (particularly in the arid areas of the country)

Groundwater to the rescue?

•      Groundwater resources are accounting for an increasing proportion of water supply and there are largely untapped aquifers in many areas, but contamination and overdraft remain a threat.

•      However, conservation is the cheapest new source of water.

 

Not out of my basin…

•      Inter-basin transfers are possible, but very controversial. Examples of proposals include:

•      San Luis Valley, Peripheral Canal, Trans-Texas Project, NAWAPA.

•      Will Lake Superior make Minnesota the richest state in the country? Not likely.

 

 

Other new sources:

•      Sea water desalinization not economically practical at present.

•      Saline water treatment is marginal. Example: Clay Thorne and his “Tar”.

 

Competing users:

•      For many years the agricultural (usually up-stream) water users and the urban (usually down-stream water users) were able to reach agreement to have the Federal Government pay for massive water development projects.

•      This alliance has ended for several reasons:

 

Why consensus on building water projects is over:

•      Environmental activism and laws have restricted and delayed projects.

•      The Federal Government is cutting back on special interest “pork barrel” projects.

•      The best projects have been done.

•      There is no extra water in many areas.

•      This means that as in the cases of the Colorado Rivers in both Texas and the Southwest urban areas are fighting with farmers over the same limited resource.

 

Avoiding  a zero-sum game”

•      Creative ways to avoid a “zero sum game” where peter steals from Paul to pay Peggy must be found.

•      Outdated laws will have to change.

•      Water laws were designed in a time when there was plenty of water and limited technology to capture and transport water.

•      Also, the behavior of water, particularly groundwater was poorly understood.

 

Let hydrologists not lawyers make laws and regulations:

•      Things like “absolute rights” to “percolating water” in some states and legal creations with no relationship to reality like the “bright Line” doctrine in Arizona.

•      Now more states are instituting comprehensive state permitting for all water rights, that prioritizes uses based on “highest and best use” and guarantees things like in-stream flows and municipal water supply.

•      Unfortunately, cooperation between states and across large diverse states like Texas and California is still largely absent.

 

Incentives work…

•      Incentives to conserve water must be developed so water rights are not a “use it or loose it” proposition.

 

International conflicts:

•      Conflicts over water in the middle east, in developed countries and arid areas will grow.

•      Rivers often form borders.

•      Example Danube Dam and Jordan Rivers.

•      Also, pollution originating in one nation may impact downstream countries.

•      Dams may require relocation of many people.

•      United Nations writes many reports but has almost no power.

 

Global Climate change.

•      The climate is changing, it always has changed, sometimes very gradually, sometimes dramatically.

•      If the “green-house” effect is real, then the principal early effect of warming of the atmosphere will be a change in weather patterns, only later will massive melting of ice caps and much hotter weather be obvious.

 

Is global warming inevitable?

•      Unfortunately, slowing the release of CO2 and methane requires a drastic change in reliance on fossil fuels. This implies a slowing of economic growth particularly in the developing countries now discovering the joys of air conditioning, cars, etc.

•      Who can force this to happen? - effectively nobody.

•      So if the greenhouse effect is happening it will get far worse before it can be reversed.

OPPORTUNITIES:

•      Opportunities for further study in water related areas are limited at SHSU. There is a water quality course in ES.

•      The best hydrology courses in Texas are in the civil engineering department at UT,  A& M and geology at Baylor.

•      Graduate programs in hydrology specifically exist at The University of Arizona, University of Colorado, University of Washington, University of California campuses at Davis and Santa Barbara.

 

Careers.

•      Most people working in surface water hydrology are civil engineers or have no actual training in the area but gravitated to those jobs.

•      most people working in the area of groundwater hydrology are geologists.

•      In aquatic ecosystem management, wetlands work, etc most professionals are biologists.

•      Usually, these people have never actually had a course on hydrology. So they get OJT.

Other opportunities:

•      There are entry level opportunities with the river authorities, with water conservation districts and with environmental consulting firms. Much of this is either field work or writing and assembling environmental impact reports (EIRs) and other reports required by the Government.

 

What you can do:

•      Examples of conservation measures include:

•      Low flow toilets (1.5-2.5 not 5 gal per flush), low flow shower heads, detecting and fixing leaks, sprinkler timers, drip irrigation, xerascape.

•      40% domestic conservation can be achieved with no real changes in lifestyle.

 

Final thought:

•      Wise use and a scientific understanding of water resources can protect and promote not only recreation related water resources but provide the basis for a healthy natural environment and a harvest of benefits for man.