Event Title

Using “Surplus” Water to Meet Downstream Environmental Needs in Systems Constructed for Water and Power Benefits

Presenter Information

Clayton Palmer

Location

ECC 203

Event Website

http://water.usu.edu/htm/conference/past-spring-runoff-conferences

Start Date

5-4-2007 11:30 AM

End Date

5-4-2007 11:50 AM

Description

The Colorado River Storage Project consists of large Federal dams and reservoirs on the Upper Colorado River Basin. The largest of these are the Glen Canyon Dam in Arizona, Flaming Gorge Dam in Utah and Blue Mesa Dam in Colorado. The authorizing legislation requires that these dams be operated for purposes related to water development and power production. In recent years the operation of these facilities has been the subject of intense environmental review. Downstream of these dams are endangered fish species, sport fisheries, white water recreation and national parks or monuments. One way of reconciling the conflicts that have surfaced is to use “surplus water” or “water at risk of spill”. Based on forecasts, water is identified beyond what is needed to fill reservoirs, meet water delivery obligations and generate electrical power. This amount of water is then patterned in terms of timing, magnitude and duration to meet downstream environmental needs. Hydrological/operational studies have shown that “water at risk of spill” can meet the biological flow recommendations for endangered fish species for the Gunnison River below Blue Mesa Dam. Moreover, “water at risk of spill” forms the underpinnings of beach and habitat building opportunities below Glen Canyon Dam. These examples provide evidence that important environmental needs may be accomplished in water delivery systems without changes to the legal authorities of dams constructed for water development purposes.

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Apr 5th, 11:30 AM Apr 5th, 11:50 AM

Using “Surplus” Water to Meet Downstream Environmental Needs in Systems Constructed for Water and Power Benefits

ECC 203

The Colorado River Storage Project consists of large Federal dams and reservoirs on the Upper Colorado River Basin. The largest of these are the Glen Canyon Dam in Arizona, Flaming Gorge Dam in Utah and Blue Mesa Dam in Colorado. The authorizing legislation requires that these dams be operated for purposes related to water development and power production. In recent years the operation of these facilities has been the subject of intense environmental review. Downstream of these dams are endangered fish species, sport fisheries, white water recreation and national parks or monuments. One way of reconciling the conflicts that have surfaced is to use “surplus water” or “water at risk of spill”. Based on forecasts, water is identified beyond what is needed to fill reservoirs, meet water delivery obligations and generate electrical power. This amount of water is then patterned in terms of timing, magnitude and duration to meet downstream environmental needs. Hydrological/operational studies have shown that “water at risk of spill” can meet the biological flow recommendations for endangered fish species for the Gunnison River below Blue Mesa Dam. Moreover, “water at risk of spill” forms the underpinnings of beach and habitat building opportunities below Glen Canyon Dam. These examples provide evidence that important environmental needs may be accomplished in water delivery systems without changes to the legal authorities of dams constructed for water development purposes.

http://digitalcommons.usu.edu/runoff/2007/AllAbstracts/4