Enhanced Water Accounting Information System for Watershed and River Systems Management Program - DSS modeling and database tools.

Project ID: 1294
Principal Investigator: Don Frevert
Research Topic: Water Operation Models and Decision Support Systems
Funded Fiscal Years: 2004
Keywords: None

Research Question

Many Reclamation offices have the responsibility of tracking the source and ownership of water stored in reservoirs and delivered to users or downstream destinations such as other states or countries. This accounting for water is legally mandated and is a critical element of managing water to meet contracts and other objectives.

The DSS tools developed in recent years under the Watershed and River Systems Management Program (WaRSMP) provide good accounting modeling capabilities but do not yet provide a complete integrated modeling and information system. Enhancements to RiverWare to easily enter, view, extract, and analyze water accounting data and enhancements to the Hydrologic Database (HDB) to store water accounting data are needed by users of these tools.

Need and Benefit

Water accounting continues to gain importance as a Reclamation responsibility in many basins. On the Upper Rio Grande, Reclamation must track: transbasin water and native water separately, the storages and deliveries of about a dozen contractors, and water that is released for numerous other purposes such as interstate compact, recreational releases, fish releases, etc. Reclamation must keep track of frequent exchanges and rents, and often use these accounting mechanisms to operate the system more efficiently. Similary, in the Truckee Carson Basin, water in storage is owned by many entities and may be released for many different purposes.

The water owner, type, reason for release, and destination need to be tracked as the water propagates through the system. In the past, most water accounting was done on spreadsheets and hand notations. New operational challenges and policy studies such as
environmental impact statement (EIS) processes (now in progress on both these basins) require more precise, powerful, and flexible approaches that assist water managers in operating their systems more effectively and in being accountable to stakeholders. The DSS tools developed under the WaRSMP have allowed the water accounting to be modeled in these basins for the first time ever.

However, further enhancements are needed for the DSS to be completely effective. First, information about release type and destination of each water transfer must be available to the operating rule logic. The second required enhancement is for ease of model building. As each release type and owner are propagated, model objects such as river reaches must contain dozens or hundreds of pass-through accounts to track these transfers. Creating and configuring these is hugely time-consuming, even though it is only done once. An automatic creation and configuration of these pass-through accounts are badly needed to save precious time for the technical staff who model these systems. Thirdly, automatic output of the data from the model to a database or Excel spreadsheet is needed for convenience. Fourthly, the HDB, used by many Reclamation offices, needs to be enhanced to hold water accounting information. The new database of record functionality of HDB will apply to the water accounting information as well, creating a reliable record for use in studies or in conflict resolution. Lastly, there is a growing need for generation of model information in a form that can be accessed easily by stakeholders. This proposal is for providing water accounting information to the Web-based RiverWare model file reader/display. Together, these enhancements will give Reclamation's water managers in these two basins the tools they need to more effectively account for water ownership and deliveries.

Contributing Partners

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Research Products

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Last Updated: 4/4/17