1) Groundwater Status and Trends for the Columbia Plateau Regional Aquifer System, Washington, Oregon, and Idaho by Erick R. Burns (OSU PhD grad!) , Daniel T. Snyder, Jonathan V. Haynes, and Michael S. Waibel.
Well information and groundwater-level measurements for the Columbia Plateau Regional Aquifer System in Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, were compiled from data provided by the U.S. Geological Survey and seven other organizations. From the full set of about 60,000 wells and 450,000 water-level measurements a subset of 761 wells within the aquifers of the Columbia River Basalt Group (CRBG) then was used to develop a simple linear groundwater-level trend map for 1968–2009. The mean of the trends was a decline of 1.9 feet per year (ft/yr), with 72 percent of the water levels in wells declining. Rates of declines greater than 1.0 ft/yr were measured in 50 percent of wells, declines greater than 2.0 ft/yr in 38 percent of wells, declines greater than 4.0 ft/yr in 29 percent of wells, and declines greater than 8.0 ft/yr in 4 percent of wells.
Water-level data were used to identify groups of wells with similar hydraulic heads and temporal trends to delineate areas of overall similar groundwater conditions. Discontinuities in hydraulic head between well groups were used to help infer the presence of barriers to groundwater flow such as changes in lithology or the occurrence of folds and faults. In areas without flow barriers, dissimilarities in response of well groups over time resulted from the formation of groundwater mounds caused by recharge from irrigation or regions of decline caused by pumping. The areas of focus for this analysis included the Umatilla area, Oregon, and the Palouse Slope/eastern Yakima Fold Belt in the Columbia Basin Ground Water Management Area (GWMA) consisting of Adams, Franklin, Grant, and Lincoln Counties, Washington.
In the Umatilla area, water levels from 286 wells were used to identify multiple areas of high hydraulic gradient that indicate vertical and horizontal barriers to groundwater flow. These barriers divide the groundwater-flow system into several compartments with varying degrees of interconnection. Horizontal flow barriers commonly correspond to mapped geologic structure and result in horizontal hydraulic gradients that progressively become steeper from north to south corresponding to an increase in structural complexity that may be impeding recharge from the uplands into the heavily developed areas.
Most CRBG aquifers in the Umatilla area are declining and since 1970, cumulative declines range from about 100 to 300 feet. Significant vertical hydraulic gradients are documented for relatively small areas near Umatilla, and since the 1970s, downward vertical gradients in these areas have been increasing as hydraulic heads in the deeper units have declined. The absence of vertical gradients over much of the area may be a consequence of flow through commingling wells that results in the equilibration of the heads between aquifers.
On the Palouse Slope in the central GWMA, large groundwater declines occurred during 1968–2009 along a north-south swath in the middle of the region. An analysis of 1,195 wells along major flow paths and through the area of persistent groundwater-level declines indicates that barriers to flow are not as evident in this area as in Umatilla. This is consistent with the geologic interpretation of the Palouse Slope as being a gently folded structure created by voluminous sheet flows of CRBG lavas. Groundwater discharge into the sediment-filled coulees, where the upper aquifers are intersected at land surface by incised canyons, is proposed as an alternative to explain local steepening of the hydraulic gradient along the Palouse Slope previously attributed to the presence of a groundwater dam. Comparison of generalized potentiometric surface maps developed for pre-development conditions and post-2000 conditions indicate that pre-development groundwater flow was from the uplands toward the Columbia and Snake River and that post-2000 flow patterns in the area are controlled by irrigation practices that have resulted in broad regions of elevated or depressed hydraulic head. In some cases, irrigation-related changes in head have reversed groundwater flow directions. Evidence of significant vertical hydraulic gradients exists, although much of the aquifer thickness is affected by commingling of wells. The effect of commingling and its relative contribution to problems related to groundwater-level declines remains unclear.
The use of analytical modelling tools in integrated water resources management (IWRM) provides important instruments both for finding the best water use solutions and achieving water security for multiple purposes in a sustainable and equitable manner. It also facilitates the management and mitigation of extreme climate events. Water security requires resolving trade-offs to maintain a proper balance between meeting various sectors' needs and taking into account present and future overall social, economic and environmental goals.
During the past four decades, model codes have been developed for hydrological, water resources and environmental analyses. Such codes have been developed at universities, public agencies and commercial companies and vary in complexity from relatively simple conceptual (or empirical) codes to complex process-oriented codes depending on their purpose and use. Embedded in so-called Decision Support Systems (DSSs), technical tools are now available which provide a framework for data and information management, socioeconomic evaluation and communication for sharing and disseminating information to the public. Despite the general acceptance and frequent use of model/DSS codes on specific problems, the adoption of models on a global scale for daily use in water resources planning and management, or as part of the IWRM processes, has been limited.
In this context, the Global Water Partnership and DHI co-convened a session at the 6th World Water Forum, held in Marseille, France, on how models could be used as tools for helping decision-makers implement IWRM to balance multiple water uses to best achieve desired goals. We have assembled a global community of experts and stakeholders devoted to frank dialogue, rigorous analysis and effective action to address the requirements to ensure that an enabling institutional environment for the sustainable use of the modelling framework is created and that the technological transfer is carried out as a collaborative effort between software supplier and water authority. These requirements form the basis for elaborating models/DSSs which can be tools for helping decision-makers implement IWRM.
This Technical Focus Paper honours a commitment, made at the end of the session, to prepare guidelines for elaborating and validating modelling/DSS tools to assist decision-makers in implementing IWRM. We are grateful to Jan Hassing from UNEP-DHI Centre, Børge Storm and Henrik Refstrup Sørensen from DHI, and John Joyce and Phillia Restiani from SIWI for their commendable efforts in drafting this document. We also thank Torkil Jønch Clausen and John Metzger for their valuable support throughout the process.
The National Association of Clean Water Agencies (NACWA), the Water Environment Research Foundation (WERF) and the Water Environment Federation (WEF) are pleased to release the Water Resources Utility of the Future . . . Blueprint for Action. Work on this document began in earnest in September 2012 and has been shepherded along by the strong efforts of a joint Steering Committee made up of three representatives from each of the three organizations as well as by a diverse Task Force of 49 experts representing a broad cross- section from the three organizations’ memberships. The Steering Committee ensured the Blueprint remained both targeted and comprehensive while the Task Force provided data, input, editing and insight throughout the drafting process.
This Blueprint was placed on a fast-track for finalization to ensure that Utility of the Future (UOTF) issues are front and center as the 113th Congress and incoming Administration develop their environmental priorities. The audience for this Blueprint, however, is broader than just federal policy-makers and includes local utility managers, private sector interests, state and local governments, and many others within the clean water, drink- ing water, energy and agricultural communities.
Our three organizations have different missions and strengths - these include advocacy, technical input, out- reach/communications, scientific research, data collection and media relations. Each organization will cull from this document to determine which particular UOTF priorities to advance. Wherever possible, however, the three organizations will work together to advance shared objectives and will seek to encourage the array of organizations that make up the clean water sector to review this document closely and work to advance the UOTF objectives outlined in the Blueprint as well.
It is critical to understand that the Blueprint is a living document and that new ideas under the UOTF umbrella will continue to be added. This document represents an opening salvo in the effort to define and tie together a diverse realm of resource recovery activities and innovative approaches, many of which were never contem- plated, and likely could never have been foreseen, 40 years ago when the Clean Water Act was enacted.
This project was advanced because a group of industry leaders arrived at a shared realization that the chal- lenges (and opportunities) faced by wastewater agencies are unprecedented and that some of the paradigms
that have been in place for decades are changing to meet these challenges. This Blueprint underscores the need for the clean water sector to work together to shape the landscape of clean water going forward. It also highlights the type of collaboration that is needed to ensure a sustainable future that minimizes waste, maxi- mizes resources, protects the ratepayer, improves the community, and embraces innovation in an unprec- edented manner.
The joint Steering Committee and Task Force that did the hard work to make this Blueprint possible constitutes a model that is now in place not only for further joint efforts under the UOTF banner but potentially for other efforts that can advance the clean water sector’s lofty objectives. We sincerely hope you find this document as fascinating and useful to read as our organizations did creating it!
Enjoy! Lots of good stuff here.
been a permanent dialogue between human beings and water." - Paolo Lugari