0
Water in the West - Too little or too much?
Challenges of Drought, Wildfire and Flood in Colorado
November 13, 2013 Webina...
Water in the West
Webinar 2 – Too Little or Too Much?

Please also visit the webinar resources and activities site:
https:...
Webinar Series Facilitators

Anne Gold

Deb Morrison
Water in the West Webinar Series
Overall Structure
• Two webinars
• Background reading material on the website https://sit...
Too Little or Too Much?
Drought, Wildfire and Flooding in Colorado
November 13, 2013

Jeffrey Writer, PhD.
Environmental E...
Question for Scientists…..

Can you describe the relevance of
evaluating water from a watershed
perspective?
What is the B...
Mississippi River Watershed
Watershed: the area of land that drains into a water body

From Murphy, 2006
Zooming In: South Platte River Watershed

From Murphy, 2006
Boulder Creek Watershed
Land Cover
From USGS National
land cover data set
Boulder Creek – Mining and Water
Placer gold
mining on
Fourmile Creek,
circa 1890

From Murphy, 2006
Boulder Creek OrodellGauge
2002-2014 Average Daily Discharge
Water Supply in the Boulder Creek Watershed
Width of blue line
represents discharge

June

From Murphy, 2006

October
Question for Scientists…..

Can you elaborate on water quality and
quantity issues stemming from watershed
variability?
Relation Between Discharge and Water Quality
Population Growth and Water Usage

From Colorado State
Demographic Office

From Colorado
River District
Drought in Colorado

Doesken, 2007
Land Use and Water Supply
Question for Scientists…..

Why do we see increases in wildfires in the
western US?
How do these increases affect watershe...
It’s Getting Hot in Here

Annual frequency of large (>400 ha) western U.S. forest wildfires
(bars) and mean March through ...
Earlier Snowmelt Contributes to Wildfires

Average frequency of
western U.S. forest wildfire
by elevation and early, mid, ...
Hydrologic Impacts of Fire:
Changes in the Ecosystem
Before fire

After fire

Transpiration
Interception
Storage
Infiltrat...
How Does A Watershed Respond?
Sediments in Reservoirs

Flash Floods

Debris Flows

22
Question for Scientists…..

Using the FourmileCanyon fire as an
example, can you explain impacts of wildfire
on water supp...
2010 Fourmile Canyon Fire, CO

Gold Run.

Boulder, CO

Fourmile Cr.

M. Boulder Cr.

Image: NASA

Map of
2,500
hectare
bur...
Storm Variability in the Fourmile Creek
Watershed, 2011
June 19-20
Total P 27-34 mm
Max I30 10-14 mm/hr

July 13
Total P 0...
Discharge of Fourmile Creek
Video Clip – Gold Run
Question for Scientists…..

So far we have talked about wildfire and its
effect on hydrology.
What are the implications fo...
Samples of Fourmile Creek
July 13-14, 2011
Upstream of burned area

Within burned area
Surface Water  Drinking Water
Source water

• Suspended solids
• Dissolved organic carbon (DOC)
• Pathogens
• Etc.

Water...
DOC Concentrations (2 Years of Data)
80
60
40
20

Upstream from burn
FCCR
FCLM

Downstream from burn
FCWM
FCLM
FCBC

Thund...
Effects of Wildfire on Drinking Water Supply

Elevated nutrients  eutrophication
Question for Scientists…..

Other disturbances will have an impact on
water quality as well, for example, the recent
Storm...
Discharge of Fourmile Creek

Indirect
measurements
after the flood
suggest peak
was actually
even higher
(<2,300 cfs);
the...
Fourmile Creek Below Gold Run
Sept. 15, 2013

From http://ropeandsummit.wordpress.com/
Fourmile Creek Below Gold Run
Sept. 15, 2013

From http://ropeandsummit.wordpress.com/
Fourmile Canyon (upstream of burned area)
September 19, 2013

Showing old
railroad track.

Photo by Sheila Murphy, USGS
Question for Scientists…..

How would you describe the connection
between the Fourmile Canyon Fire and the
Colorado Storm?...
Total Rainfall for September 9 to 17, 2013

(230 mm)

(430 mm)

Interpolated using Urban Drainage & Flood Control District...
Rainfall Totals for Northern Colorado, with
Watershed Boundaries - September 9-16, 2013

Localized upslope
rainfall event
...
Question for Scientists…..

How significant was this storm?
Was it a “100-year flood”?
What does that mean?
Floods in Boulder
May, 1874:
May, 1894:
July, 1906:
July, 1916:
Aug., 1955:
May, 1969:

Boulder Creek
Boulder Creek
Sunshi...
Floods in Boulder: May 1894
7th street
9th street

19th street
19th Street flooded from
Canyon to the Hill, 8 feet
deep an...
Annual Peak Flow

100 Year Flood: What’s in a Name?

Problem is that there is often
little data for extreme events

1

Exc...
Question for Scientists…..

What are the implications of variable water
supply on urban planning along the Front
Range as ...
The Challenge of Using Past Events
to Predict the Future
Water in the West - Too little or too much?
Challenges of Drought, Wildfire and Flood in Colorado
Questions & comments: cl...
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Climate Change and Water in the West: Drought, Wildfires, and Flood in Colorado

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In the second in our four-part webinar series we welcome three hydrologists from the US Geological Survey: Dr. Jeff Writer, Dr. Brian Ebel and Sheila Murphy. Watch the video replay of the webinar here https://new.livestream.com/lmac/waterwebinar2.

Jeff specializes in wildfire impacts on water quality and aquatic ecosystems, coupling of ecological and engineered infrastructure, fate and transport of emerging contaminants. Brian specializes in unsaturated flow and soil physics, surface water/groundwater interaction, hillslope hydrology and runoff generation, landslide and debris flow initiation, and post-wildfire hydrology. Sheila’s research focuses on the characterization of the hydrology and water chemistry of small watersheds and how they are affected by both natural factors and disturbance.

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Transcript of "Climate Change and Water in the West: Drought, Wildfires, and Flood in Colorado"

  1. 1. Water in the West - Too little or too much? Challenges of Drought, Wildfire and Flood in Colorado November 13, 2013 Webinar Dr. Brian Ebel, Colorado School of Mines Sheila Murphy, US Geological Survey Dr. Jeff Writer, University of Colorado Boulder Dr. Anne Gold, CIRES & Deb Morrison, University of Colorado Boulder https://sites.google.com/site/climatesciencewebinars/water-module/webinar-2-activity
  2. 2. Water in the West Webinar 2 – Too Little or Too Much? Please also visit the webinar resources and activities site: https://sites.google.com/site/climatesciencewebinars/watermodule/webinar-2-activity
  3. 3. Webinar Series Facilitators Anne Gold Deb Morrison
  4. 4. Water in the West Webinar Series Overall Structure • Two webinars • Background reading material on the website https://sites.google.com/site/climatesciencewebinars/watermodule/webinar-2-activity Requirements For Credit More Webinar Series to come • “Extreme Weather” in Spring 2014
  5. 5. Too Little or Too Much? Drought, Wildfire and Flooding in Colorado November 13, 2013 Jeffrey Writer, PhD. Environmental Engineer University of Colorado Sheila Murphy Hydrologist USGS Brian Ebel, PhD. Hydrologist Colorado School of Mines Organized by: Anne Gold, Ph.D. CIRES & Deb Morrison, CU Boulder School of Education
  6. 6. Question for Scientists….. Can you describe the relevance of evaluating water from a watershed perspective? What is the Boulder Creek watershed?
  7. 7. Mississippi River Watershed Watershed: the area of land that drains into a water body From Murphy, 2006
  8. 8. Zooming In: South Platte River Watershed From Murphy, 2006
  9. 9. Boulder Creek Watershed Land Cover From USGS National land cover data set
  10. 10. Boulder Creek – Mining and Water Placer gold mining on Fourmile Creek, circa 1890 From Murphy, 2006
  11. 11. Boulder Creek OrodellGauge 2002-2014 Average Daily Discharge
  12. 12. Water Supply in the Boulder Creek Watershed Width of blue line represents discharge June From Murphy, 2006 October
  13. 13. Question for Scientists….. Can you elaborate on water quality and quantity issues stemming from watershed variability?
  14. 14. Relation Between Discharge and Water Quality
  15. 15. Population Growth and Water Usage From Colorado State Demographic Office From Colorado River District
  16. 16. Drought in Colorado Doesken, 2007
  17. 17. Land Use and Water Supply
  18. 18. Question for Scientists….. Why do we see increases in wildfires in the western US? How do these increases affect watersheds?
  19. 19. It’s Getting Hot in Here Annual frequency of large (>400 ha) western U.S. forest wildfires (bars) and mean March through August temperature for the western United States (line). Westerlinget al. Science 2006
  20. 20. Earlier Snowmelt Contributes to Wildfires Average frequency of western U.S. forest wildfire by elevation and early, mid, and late snowmelt years from 1970 to 2002 Westerlinget al. Science 2006
  21. 21. Hydrologic Impacts of Fire: Changes in the Ecosystem Before fire After fire Transpiration Interception Storage Infiltration Rates After fire Before fire litter organic rich soil mineral soil ash ash/soil mineral soil
  22. 22. How Does A Watershed Respond? Sediments in Reservoirs Flash Floods Debris Flows 22
  23. 23. Question for Scientists….. Using the FourmileCanyon fire as an example, can you explain impacts of wildfire on water supply?
  24. 24. 2010 Fourmile Canyon Fire, CO Gold Run. Boulder, CO Fourmile Cr. M. Boulder Cr. Image: NASA Map of 2,500 hectare burned area
  25. 25. Storm Variability in the Fourmile Creek Watershed, 2011 June 19-20 Total P 27-34 mm Max I30 10-14 mm/hr July 13 Total P 0-33 mm Max I30 0-41 mm/hr July 7 Total P 8-31 mm Max I30 7-49 mm/hr Measured rainfall at UDFCD, USGS, and NADP gauges interpolated by kriging; I30: Maximum 30-minute rainfall
  26. 26. Discharge of Fourmile Creek
  27. 27. Video Clip – Gold Run
  28. 28. Question for Scientists….. So far we have talked about wildfire and its effect on hydrology. What are the implications for water quality, particularly as it relates to drinking water?
  29. 29. Samples of Fourmile Creek July 13-14, 2011 Upstream of burned area Within burned area
  30. 30. Surface Water  Drinking Water Source water • Suspended solids • Dissolved organic carbon (DOC) • Pathogens • Etc. Water treatment • Coagulation/Filtration • Disinfection
  31. 31. DOC Concentrations (2 Years of Data) 80 60 40 20 Upstream from burn FCCR FCLM Downstream from burn FCWM FCLM FCBC Thunderstorm - High DOC causes water treatment problems - Typically elevated during spring runoff - 2010-11 Remained high 2 years post-fire during thunderstorms 8 Drinking water treatment threshold 6 2 80 60 40 20 8 2011-12 Drinking water treatment threshold 6 4 2 Base-flow & Snowmelt N ov ct O Se p Au g l Ju n Ju M ay Ap r M ar Fe b n Ja D ec N ov O ct 0 Se p DOC (mg/L) 4
  32. 32. Effects of Wildfire on Drinking Water Supply Elevated nutrients  eutrophication
  33. 33. Question for Scientists….. Other disturbances will have an impact on water quality as well, for example, the recent Storm of 2013. Can you talk to us about this?
  34. 34. Discharge of Fourmile Creek Indirect measurements after the flood suggest peak was actually even higher (<2,300 cfs); these data are being modified
  35. 35. Fourmile Creek Below Gold Run Sept. 15, 2013 From http://ropeandsummit.wordpress.com/
  36. 36. Fourmile Creek Below Gold Run Sept. 15, 2013 From http://ropeandsummit.wordpress.com/
  37. 37. Fourmile Canyon (upstream of burned area) September 19, 2013 Showing old railroad track. Photo by Sheila Murphy, USGS
  38. 38. Question for Scientists….. How would you describe the connection between the Fourmile Canyon Fire and the Colorado Storm? Did the fire have an effect on the flood?
  39. 39. Total Rainfall for September 9 to 17, 2013 (230 mm) (430 mm) Interpolated using Urban Drainage & Flood Control District rain gauges.
  40. 40. Rainfall Totals for Northern Colorado, with Watershed Boundaries - September 9-16, 2013 Localized upslope rainfall event From NOAA using rainfall data from NOAA, UDFCD, CoCoRaHS and others
  41. 41. Question for Scientists….. How significant was this storm? Was it a “100-year flood”? What does that mean?
  42. 42. Floods in Boulder May, 1874: May, 1894: July, 1906: July, 1916: Aug., 1955: May, 1969: Boulder Creek Boulder Creek Sunshine Canyon Fourmile Canyon Fourmile Canyon Boulder Creek Canyon Blvd during flood 1894, Denver Public Library
  43. 43. Floods in Boulder: May 1894 7th street 9th street 19th street 19th Street flooded from Canyon to the Hill, 8 feet deep and a mile wide Images from Denver Library
  44. 44. Annual Peak Flow 100 Year Flood: What’s in a Name? Problem is that there is often little data for extreme events 1 Exceedance Probability 0
  45. 45. Question for Scientists….. What are the implications of variable water supply on urban planning along the Front Range as we look toward the future?
  46. 46. The Challenge of Using Past Events to Predict the Future
  47. 47. Water in the West - Too little or too much? Challenges of Drought, Wildfire and Flood in Colorado Questions & comments: climatewebinars@gmail.com Video replay: http://www.livestream.com/lmac Slides: http://www.slideshare.net/learnmoreaboutclimate Resources: https://sites.google.com/site/climatesciencewebinars/water-module A live broadcast from University of Colorado Boulder ATLAS Institute: Alliance for Technology, Learning and Society Next Webinar Series: Spring 2014 – Extreme Weather
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