Event Title

Utah's River Basins: Moving Toward Sentience

Presenter Information

Roger Hansen

Location

Eccles Conference Center

Event Website

http://water.usu.edu/

Start Date

3-27-2006 2:00 PM

End Date

3-27-2006 2:15 PM

Description

Donald Worster in his treatise "Rivers of Empire" (1985) correctly sees the American West as at a crossroads and wonders if it will be able to satisfactorily resolve its waterrelated issues (over-allocation, salinity management, drainage, etc.). He advocates a return to John Wesley Powell's dream of management by river basin, a concept recently endorsed by a wide range of organizations including the Western Water Policy Review Advisory Commission (1997). Toward this goal, Worster recommends improved operation of existing infrastructure. Powell, during his lifetime, was a strong advocate of technology, but technology applied at the local level. One technology which fits the Worster/Powell requirement is the integration of real-time monitoring and control with the Internet, and a move toward river basin sentience (the state of being conscious). River basin sentience is moving ahead rapidly in 4 Utah river basins, the Sevier, San Rafael, Duchesne, and Bear (the latter also flows through parts of Wyoming and Idaho). The first group to start the process were the Sevier River water users. In the 1990s, the water user association, with an assist from the Bureau of Reclamation (Reclamation) began a systematic program to instrument and automate their watershed. Automation equipment, most of it solar powered, was installed on all major water control structures, including 3 major reservoirs, 2 re-regulating reservoirs, and 15 diversion structures. Additionally, over 15 real-time river and canal monitoring sites and 4 weather stations were equipped with telemetry. All this data is brought back hourly to an unmanned data collection facility (the developing "brain" for the Sevier River network). In 1997, the water users teamed with a local consultant and Reclamation to establish a website (www.sevierriver.org) for the distribution of their real-time (and recent historic) information on streamflows, canal diversions, reservoir levels and releases, snowpack, and weather conditions. The Sevier River sentience project has become a cooperative effort of a diverse consortium comprised of water user groups, canal companies, reservoir companies, private enterprise, Federal and State agencies, and university researchers. One of the prime contributions of Utah State University staff has been the development of decision-support tools. Wynn Walker has developed a water rights allocation model that updates daily. Mac McKee and his graduate students are working on real-time reservoir release models. The Sevier River Basin is rapidly moving toward sentience, as are the other three river basins.

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Mar 27th, 2:00 PM Mar 27th, 2:15 PM

Utah's River Basins: Moving Toward Sentience

Eccles Conference Center

Donald Worster in his treatise "Rivers of Empire" (1985) correctly sees the American West as at a crossroads and wonders if it will be able to satisfactorily resolve its waterrelated issues (over-allocation, salinity management, drainage, etc.). He advocates a return to John Wesley Powell's dream of management by river basin, a concept recently endorsed by a wide range of organizations including the Western Water Policy Review Advisory Commission (1997). Toward this goal, Worster recommends improved operation of existing infrastructure. Powell, during his lifetime, was a strong advocate of technology, but technology applied at the local level. One technology which fits the Worster/Powell requirement is the integration of real-time monitoring and control with the Internet, and a move toward river basin sentience (the state of being conscious). River basin sentience is moving ahead rapidly in 4 Utah river basins, the Sevier, San Rafael, Duchesne, and Bear (the latter also flows through parts of Wyoming and Idaho). The first group to start the process were the Sevier River water users. In the 1990s, the water user association, with an assist from the Bureau of Reclamation (Reclamation) began a systematic program to instrument and automate their watershed. Automation equipment, most of it solar powered, was installed on all major water control structures, including 3 major reservoirs, 2 re-regulating reservoirs, and 15 diversion structures. Additionally, over 15 real-time river and canal monitoring sites and 4 weather stations were equipped with telemetry. All this data is brought back hourly to an unmanned data collection facility (the developing "brain" for the Sevier River network). In 1997, the water users teamed with a local consultant and Reclamation to establish a website (www.sevierriver.org) for the distribution of their real-time (and recent historic) information on streamflows, canal diversions, reservoir levels and releases, snowpack, and weather conditions. The Sevier River sentience project has become a cooperative effort of a diverse consortium comprised of water user groups, canal companies, reservoir companies, private enterprise, Federal and State agencies, and university researchers. One of the prime contributions of Utah State University staff has been the development of decision-support tools. Wynn Walker has developed a water rights allocation model that updates daily. Mac McKee and his graduate students are working on real-time reservoir release models. The Sevier River Basin is rapidly moving toward sentience, as are the other three river basins.

https://digitalcommons.usu.edu/runoff/2006/AllAbstracts/2