Hydrologic modeling and inter-basin surface water transfers: building a comprehensive IBT geodatabase for the conterminous United States

Authors: G. Rebecca Dobbs*, NC State University/USDA Forest Service, Peter V. Caldwell, USDA Forest Service, Chelcy Ford Miniat, USDA Forest Service, Stacy A.C. Nelson, North Carolina State University, Ge Sun, USDA Forest Service, Kai Duan, Sun Yat-Sen University, PRChina
Topics: Water Resources and Hydrology, Geographic Information Science and Systems, Spatial Analysis & Modeling
Keywords: hydrology, GIS, database, modeling
Session Type: Guided Poster
Day: 4/5/2019
Start / End Time: 5:00 PM / 6:40 PM
Room: Roosevelt 3.5, Marriott, Exhibition Level
Presentation File: Download



Hydrologic models help managers understand and respond to impacts of land use, climate change, and other disturbances on water resources. Inter-basin surface water transfers (IBTs) occur on many rivers and streams in the US, augmenting public water supplies and allowing agriculture where otherwise impossible. Systems utilizing IBTs exist in many configurations and sizes. For example the Bureau of Reclamation diverts Colorado River water (about 11,000 Mm3 in 2017) to California, Nevada, and Arizona; Denver diverts water on the west side of the continental divide for urban use and discharges wastewater to the east side; New York City provides 10 million people with water drawn from upstate; Atlanta draws from the headwaters of six different rivers to supply its metro area; and numerous entities consolidate and distribute water from several sources to different populations. Regional to continental scale hydrologic modeling efforts rarely consider such transferred volumes, and thus do not accurately reflect how humans have altered the distributions and uses of surface water. Unlike other model inputs which are centralized and readily available, IBT data are decentralized and obscure. These data may thus be inaccessible to specific modeling projects due to the resources needed to acquire them. Here we present work on a comprehensive, high resolution, and accessible IBT database. In addition to visual exploration of the database structure, we demonstrate its applicability in terms of both tabular output to feed into models and spatial output for GIS visualization and analysis of surface water transfer data and dynamics at various scales.

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