Cyber-Infrastructure Development in Support of Real-Time Water Quality Management

OVERVIEW The Real-Time Water Quality Management Program initiative is consistent with a watershed approach to pollutant management and with the concept of Integrated Water Resources Management than the Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) affected strategy of developing upstream objectives. Activities have been focused on implementation of a Real-Time Water Quality Management demonstration program on managed seasonal wetlands within the Grasslands Ecological Area. This initiative offers the most significant near-term opportunity for progress towards Basin-scale Real-Time Water Quality Management. Modeling is an important component of real-time water quality management – forecasting models will be required to estimate River assimilative capacity for salt which will eventually provide targets for west-side stakeholders to aim for, once formula for partitioning salt loads is worked out. The Watershed Analysis Risk Management Framework (WARMF) is a watershed management simulation model that has been used for TMDL (total maximum daily load) development. WARMF comprises a public-domain, graphics-based analytical toolbox that integrates catchments, river segments and lakes within a river basin model to predict the hydrology and water quality of rivers and receiving water bodies. WARMF also contains a watershed sub-model that can simulate hydrology, nonpoint source loads and receiving water quality. The WARMF model application to the San Joaquin Basin (WARMF-SJR) lacks a modeling framework designed for scenario generation and gaming analyses. If stakeholders are to become involved in the implementation of real-time water quality management they need to understand and appreciate the impacts of local actions on San Joaquin River water quality. The WARMF-SJR model was enhanced under a contract which extended the model extent to simulate the reach between Friant Dam and the Merced River confluence. The expanded watershed included all the land draining to the San Joaquin River upstream of the Lander Avenue Bridge near Stevinson and downstream of Friant Dam, including USGS Hydrologic Unit Code (HUCs) 18040001 and 18040007. In order to accommodate alternate routing of flows downstream of Gravelly Ford on the middle San Joaquin River both the East-side Bypass and the River segment passing through Mendota Dam were simulated. Tributaries added to the model included Bear Creek, the Chowchilla River and the Fresno River. The added watershed area was approximately 2,800 square miles. Stakeholder workshops have been held since, under direct Reclamation funding of Systech Water Resources Inc. to encourage use of the new model and to solicit from stakeholders’ suggestions for future WARMF-SJR enhancements. Fundamental to the concept of basin-scale real-time management of salinity is stakeholder communication and outreach. The program is predicated on stakeholder cooperation leading to coordination of west-side salt loads and east-side reservoir releases and return flows so as to optimize the utilization of San Joaquin River assimilative capacity. Reclamation’s activities have been directed to date toward gaining real-time access to flow and electrical conductivity data from the major east and west-side dischargers to the San Joaquin River and then automatically migrating these data to the data serving hosting a web portal we have chosen to call “WARMF-Online”. The WARMF Online web portal displays the data that is required by the WARMF forecasting model to make simulation runs and the model outputs that provide information on these forecasts. A WARMF model forecast is a model simulation output where certain input data has been overwritten with data obtained directly from stakeholders either discharging to or diverting from the San Joaquin River. Over the past 6 years Reclamation has committed in excess of $1 million to help advance the concept of real-time management in the Grassland Water District (GWD). GWD has been the prior recipient of over $2 million in State and Federal research and implementation grants that have helped to build and maintain a sensor network with over 50 operational monitoring stations. GWD has been an effective laboratory for testing and refining various approaches for effective delivery of real-time information pertaining to salt management to District personnel and local landowners and duck club managers. In addition, GWD has been a proactive advocate of the concept of real-time management having used the same environmental monitoring network developed for salinity characterization and management to achieve substantial water conservations benefits. Using real-time monitoring of GWD inflows and operational spills from the District outlet’s the GWD Water Master has been able to tune their distribution system to minimize draw on Reclamation facilities providing more water for summer irrigation of wetland impoundments. GWD’s advocacy will be important for the technology transfer of real-time management principles to the State and Federal wetland complexes (Los Banos Wildlife Management Area Complex and San Luis National Wildlife Refuge Complex) within the Grasslands Ecological Area. Adopting the principal that stakeholders learn more effectively from each other – GWD has been effective at demonstrating the benefits of having a functional web-based real-time monitoring network. In particular the GWD has shown how the information provided can improve the quality of the operational data gathered from wetland impoundments and provide essential decision support not only for salt management but also water conservation efforts within the Refuges. The current implementation of WARMF-Online relies on the concept of customized stakeholder “dashboards”. These dashboards contain a visual display of information customized to a particular stakeholder user’s needs primarily for decision-making purposes. This serves three purposes: (a) it encourages use of the WARMF-Online web portal since it saves the average user time that would otherwise have been spent interacting with a number of independent websites – the distributed web-links are already subsumed within the dashboard; (b) it allows other stakeholders to gain appreciation for the monitoring stations and data resources important to the owner of the dashboard. This is an indirect but important aspect of real-time management which is related to gaining perspective on the concerns and interests of both upstream and downstream stakeholders; and (c) it supports the development of customized visual outputs such as the “Gowdy” and “Herr” outputs. These outputs provide visual displays of the various contributors of flow and salt load to the River – in a Lagrangian view of the entire main stem of the River in the case of the “Gowdy” output for a single day and as a times series of flow and salt load contributions to a single location (Vernalis). These output visualizations are powerful tools for stakeholders unfamiliar with hydrology and annual variability of flow and salt loading within the River basin. These will be essential tools for drainage coordinators on both the east and west-side of the San Joaquin Basin – to determine the major salt sources discharging to the San Joaquin River at various times of the year and to develop short and longer term drainage management strategies to match San Joaquin River salt assimilative capacity. RECIPIENT INVOLVEMENT The project will benefit the public by providing a real time water-quality management and information system for the San Joaquin river basin. Key goals and objectives of the current five year project are as follows: • Implement the first real-time salinity management program as an alternative to Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-mandated Waste Discharge requirements under the current salinity and boron TMDL. • Develop key cyberinfrastructure including environmental sensor networks, appropriate radio and code division multiple access (CDMA) telemetry, web-based data access, forecasts models and web access to model input data and model results. • Perform stakeholder outreach – demonstrating use of decision support tools to practice real-time salinity management in coordination with other Basin stakeholders. RECLAMATION INVOLVEMENT Substantial involvement on the part Reclamation is anticipated for the successful completion of the objectives to be funded by this award. In particular, Reclamation will be responsible for the following: The Grants Officer Technical Representative (GOTR) will assist the Recipient, students, technicians and other scientists involved in carrying out the scope of work (Technical analysis of Cyberinfrastructure, Forecasting model and Real Time Management of Science and Technology). This will involve active participation, and mentoring of Recipient personnel. In addition the GOTR will facilitate cooperative work with other Reclamation personnel in completing the stated project goals. Reclamation will also act as the Federal liaison in the conveyance of funding from Reclamation to the Regents of the University of California, Merced. SINGLE-SOURCE JUSTIFICATION Reclamation did not solicit full and open competition for this award based the following criteria: (4) UNIQUE QUALIFICATIONS Single Source Justification Description: The Recipient is a research scientist and has been associated with various institutions of higher learning in the State of California for the past 26 years including University of California Merced, University of California, Berkeley, Berkeley National Laboratory and California State University, Fresno. In this capacity he has conducted and continues to conduct public outreach in the form of public lectures, seminars and service on state-level planning and advisory committees. These events have involved the general public, local, state, and Federal officials and have been geared to educate and provide meaningful communication about activities that affect the San Joaquin River Basin and Bay-Delta watershed. This public outreach touches on topics of water supply reliability, water quality, and ecological restoration efforts in the San Joaquin River Basin and Delta as identified in the CALFED Bay Delta Record of Decision (ROD). The Recipient has significant involvement in the stakeholder-led Central Valley Salinity Alternitives for Long-Term Sustainability (CVSALTS) initiative and in CALFED Bay-Delta program. Both public outreach efforts are integral actions - helping the public understand the process of how resources are being wisely used and protected in the development of an amended water quality control plan for the San Joaquin River Basin and the central Valley. Through UC Merced and its role in educating leaders of tomorrow in the San Joaquin River Basin this grant program provides a unique opportunity to have students involved in programs and on projects. STATUTORY AUTHORITY Public Law 108-361, Section 103(d)(2)(D) Water Supply, Reliability, and Environmental Improvement Act. SEC. 103. BAY DELTA PROGRAM. (d)(2)(D) (d) DESCRIPTION OF ACTIVITIES UNDER APPLICABLE LAW. (2) CONVEYANCE. (D) PROGRAM TO MEET STANDARDS.—

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