Watershed management along the Colorado River - Michael Gabaldon


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Michael is an Associate Vice-President with AECOM and a presenter at Alberta’s Watershed Management Symposium: Flood and Drought Mitigation. Using the Colorado River and recent flood events in the State of Colorado as backdrops, Michael talked about bringing diverse stakeholders together to create an effective total watershed management plan.

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Watershed management along the Colorado River - Michael Gabaldon

  1. 1. April 29, 2014 Alberta Watershed Management Symposium
  2. 2. Watershed Management Colorado River -Minute 319 -WaterSMART -Adaptive Management Michael Gabaldon Associate Vice President, Senior Manager AECOM April 29, 2014
  3. 3. Who is AECOM? Top 4 Program Management Firm for more than 5 Years #1 Program Management and Program Design Professional Services #3 International Program Management #5 US Program Management
  4. 4. www.aecom.com aecom I advancing hydropower Global Resources and Technical Expertise Americas Canada Mexico Latin America United States U.K./Europe CIS England France Greece Ireland Italy Poland Scotland Asia-Pacific Australia China Hong Kong Malaysia New Zealand Singapore Middle East/Africa Afghanistan Egypt Iraq Kuwait Libya Qatar Saudi Arabia United Arab Emirates 45,000 Staff 500+ Offices More Than 125 Countries
  5. 5. North America Locations Denver, Colorado Montreal, Quebec New York, NY
  6. 6. Photo credit: Port Authority of New York & New Jersey World Trade Center, New York City, U.S.A. Services: Construction manager | Site and streetscape design for our clients’ most important projects,
  7. 7. all over the world, 2012 London Olympics Masterplan, London, United Kingdom Services: Masterplanning
  8. 8. in your region, Grand-Mere Powerhouse (230 MW), Quebec, Canada: Engineering | Planning | Construction Observation | Construction Administration
  9. 9. April 2014 Total Watershed Management -- The Colorado River
  10. 10. April 2014 Annual Precipitation
  11. 11. Glen Canyon Dam
  12. 12. Hoover Dam
  13. 13. Colorado River Basin Overview • Over 1,450 miles in length • Basin makes up about 12% of total U.S. lands • 60 MAF of total storage • Average annual inflow of 15 MAF • Irrigates 3 million acres • Serves 30 million people • Generates 10 billion KWh of electricity • Provides more than 30 million visitor- days of recreation
  14. 14. Background: Key Elements of the Law of the River • Colorado River Compact, 1922 • Boulder Canyon Project Act, 1928 • Mexican Water Treaty, 1944 • Upper Colorado River Basin Compact, 1948 • Colorado River Storage Project Act, 1956 • Supreme Court Decree, Arizona v. California, 1964 • Colorado River Basin Project Act, 1968 IIa
  15. 15. Meeting Short and Long Term Challenges • Storage – Dams and Reservoirs • Operations – Coordinated Operations and Reservoirs – Interim Surplus Guidelines – Shortage Guidelines • Conservation Actions – Canal Lining – Water Transfers – Offstream Banking
  16. 16. Colorado River Operations and Hydrology
  17. 17. Historic Colorado River Water Supply & Use (Annual)
  18. 18. 14% 51.75% 11.25% 23% 2.8 maf 300,000 af 4.4 maf
  19. 19. Colorado River Demands by State Colorado Arizona California Nevada New Mexico Utah Mexico
  20. 20. Colorado River Basin Hydrology • 16.5 million acre-feet (maf) allocated annually • 13 to 14.5 maf of consumptive use annually • 60 maf of storage • 15.0 maf average annual “natural” inflow into Lake Powell over past 100 years • Inflows are highly variable year-to-year
  21. 21. Natural Flow Colorado River at Lees Ferry Gaging Station, Arizona Water Year 1906 to 2013 0 5 10 15 20 25 30 0 5 10 15 20 25 30 1905 1910 1915 1920 1925 1930 1935 1940 1945 1950 1955 1960 1965 1970 1975 1980 1985 1990 1995 2000 2005 2010 AnnualFlow(MAF) Water Year Colorado River at Lees Ferry, AZ - Natural Flow Average 10-yr Average Provisional data, subject to change Estimated values for 2009-2011
  22. 22. Colorado River Drought • 2000-2013 was the driest 12-year period in the 100-year historical record (WYs 2009 and 2010 data are estimated) • Tree-ring reconstructions show more severe droughts have occurred over the past 1200 years (e.g., drought in the mid 1100s) • Observed 2013 April through July runoff was 163% of average as of September 6 • Not unusual to have a few years of above average inflow during longer-term droughts (e.g., the 1950s)
  23. 23. Colorado River Basin Storage (as of September 11, 2013) Current Storage Percent Full MAF Elevation (Feet) Lake Powell 73% 17.75 3,654 Lake Mead 49% 12.80 1,114 Total System Storage* 65% 38.85 NA *Total system storage was 33.50 maf or 56% this time last year
  24. 24. April 2014 Watershed Management -- The Colorado River Minute 319
  25. 25. As part of the ongoing dialogue on Colorado River issues, delegations from the United States and Mexico worked over three years to reach an agreement on a set of cooperative measures for management for the next five years. Principals to the agreement: Seven Colorado River Basin states, representatives from the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. IBWC, Mexico IBWC, and Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner. Minute 319 demonstrates commitment and the potential opportunities for future cooperation between the United States and Mexico on water conservation, system operations, environmental restoration, and new water sources projects.
  26. 26. The five-year agreement approved by both governments provides for a series of joint cooperative actions between the United States and Mexico. Elements of the agreement include: •Implementing efforts to enhance water infrastructure and promote sharing, storing, and conserving water as needed during both shortages and surpluses; •Establishing proactive basin operations by applying water delivery reductions when Lake Mead reservoir conditions are low in order to deter more severe reductions in the future; •Promoting the ecological health of the Colorado River Delta;
  27. 27. •Extending humanitarian measures from a 2010 agreement, Minute 318, to allow Mexico to defer delivery of a portion of its Colorado River allotment while it continues to make repairs to earthquake-damaged infrastructure; •Establishing a program of Intentionally Created Mexican Allocation (ICMA) whereby Mexico could temporarily reduce its order of Colorado River water, allowing that water to be delivered to Mexico in the future; Establishes a pilot exchange program under which U.S. entities assist in funding water infrastructure and environmental projects in Mexico. These investments provide water benefits to the U.S. agencies in exchange for their funding and generate water for Mexico.
  28. 28. Partnerships and Many Meetings Seven Basin States U.S. Department of the Interior U.S. Department of State U.S. Bureau of Reclamation International Boundary and Water Commission, U.S. and Mexico
  29. 29. WaterSMART Secure and Manage America’s Resources for Tomorrow
  30. 30. WaterSMART (Sustain and Manage America’s Resources for Tomorrow) Established by Secretarial Order 3297 in February 2010: “To secure and stretch water supplies for use by existing and future generations to benefit people, the economy, and the environment…”
  31. 31. Reclamation’s WaterSMART Programs • Climate Change Studies and Adaptation – West-Wide Climate Risk Assessments – Basin Studies – Landscape Conservation Cooperatives • Water Conservation and Water Management – WaterSMART Grants – Title XVI Water Reclamation and Reuse Program – Cooperative Watershed Management Program • WaterSMART Clearinghouse
  32. 32. The Secure Water Act (Subtitle F of Title IX of P.L. 111-11, March 2009) • Authorized creation of Climate Adaptation Program • Expanded authorization for water management improvements • Requires reporting to Congress on impacts to water supply • Addresses water data enhancement by the USGS
  33. 33. SECURE Water Act Report • In April of 2011 Reclamation submitted the first report to Congress required by Section 9503(c) of the SECURE Water Act. • The report includes present quantitative projections of future temperature, precipitation, snowpack, and water supplies; as well as a qualitative discussion of impacts to future demands, water deliveries, floods, ecological issues, and hydropower across eight major Reclamation river basins developed through the WWCRAs. • Future reports under the SECURE Water Act will incorporate more information developed through the Basin Studies as they are completed.
  34. 34. Reclamation Components of WaterSMART • WaterSMART Grants – Water and Energy Efficiency – System Optimization Review – Advanced Water Treatment – Climate Analysis Tools • Basin Study Program – Landscape Conservation Cooperatives – West-Wide Climate Risk Assessments – Basin Studies • Title XVI • Cooperative Watershed Management Program • WaterSMART Clearinghouse
  35. 35. Basin Study Program • West-Wide Climate Risk Assessments • Basin Studies – Basin Studies • Landscape Conservation Cooperatives
  36. 36. Risks Impacts Adaptation / Mitigation Feasibility WWCRA Basin Studies and LCCs Basin Study Program
  37. 37. West-Wide Climate Risk Assessments • Conducted by Reclamation • Reconnaissance-level water supply and demand analyses in eight Reclamation river basins • Projections of climate change impacts to water supply and demand and baseline risk assessments to evaluate the impacts of climate change to water uses • Baseline for more in-depth analyses performed through Basin Studies
  38. 38. Basin Studies • Purpose  to work with state and local partners in the 17 Western States to evaluate future water supply and demand imbalances in a changing climate • Basin Studies Include: – Assessments of the risks and impacts of climate change on water resources, and – Development of potential mitigation and adaptation strategies to meet future demands
  39. 39. FY 2011 Basin Studies Highlights • Reclamation selected four full Basin Studies and three plans of study in FY 2011, for a total of over $1.8 million in Federal funding. • The Yakima River Basin Study was completed in FY 2011, and a final report addressing the requirements of Section 9503 of the SECURE Water Act has been completed. • In June of 2011 Reclamation released the first Colorado River Basin Study Interim Report. The interim report provides a quantified assessment of four water supply scenarios.
  40. 40. April 2014 Glen Canyon Dam Adaptive Management Program Watershed Conflicts -- Stakeholder Cooperation
  41. 41. Glen Canyon Dam and Powerplant Concrete Arch Dam • 710 feet high • 26.5 MAF Storage • Eight Francis turbines • 1,320 MW capacity Located in Page, Arizona Colorado River Lake Powell
  42. 42. Legal/Policy Background • 1963 Glen Canyon Dam completed • 1970s Initial concern over dam effects • 1989 EIS initiated on operation of GCD • 1992 Grand Canyon Protection Act • 1995 EIS completed • 1994 FWS Biological Opinion • 1996 ROD signed • 1997 AMWG chartered
  43. 43. Resource Conflicts Below Glen Canyon Dam 1952 1995 Fine Sediment and Beaches
  44. 44. Biological Opinion on the Operation of Glen Canyon Dam Fish and Wildlife Service 1994 Humpback chub Razorback sucker Endangered Species
  45. 45. Expected outcome of ROD operations • No change to Compact water deliveries • Minimum reduction of power benefits to achieve ecosystem goals • Benefit native and endangered species • Positive sand storage and improved physical habitat • Protection of tribal cultural resources • Improve aquatic and terrestrial resources • Recreation – increased safety and improved experience
  46. 46. Did everyone agree? No • 9 alternatives considered in the EIS • Ranged from maximizing hydropower to seasonally adjusted steady flows • FWS issued jeopardy Biological Opinion • Stalemate and deadlock • Compromise: adaptive management
  47. 47. Adaptive Management Process Assess Problem Design Management Plan Implement Plan Monitor Evaluate Adjust Stakeholder Input
  48. 48. Structure of the GCDAMP Secretary of the Interior Adaptive Management Work Group GCMRC Technical Work Group Independent Review Panel(s) Designee
  49. 49. AMP stakeholders • 5 DOI agencies (USBR, USGS, FWS, NPS, BIA) and DOE (WAPA) • 7 Colorado River Basin States (WY, CO, UT, NM, AZ, NV, CA) and AZ Game and Fish • 5 Indian tribes (Hopi, Paiute, Hualapai, Navajo, Zuni) • 2 Power user groups (CREDA and UAMPS) • 2 Recreation groups (Grand Canyon River Guides and Federation of Flyfishers) • 2 Environmental groups (Grand Canyon Trust and Grand Canyon Wildlands Council)
  50. 50. Is it working? • Knowledge improvement • Resource status • Stakeholder cooperation
  51. 51. Knowledge improvement • Science institution in USGS • Competitive awarding of contracts (peer review) • Development of conceptual models • Careful consideration of Adaptive Management program protocols – How should managers and scientists interact? – How should recommendations or decisions be made? – External protocol evaluation panels – Oversight from Science Advisors
  52. 52. High Flow Test
  53. 53. Status of selected resources • Water compact requirements continue to be met • Greater aquatic productivity in the Lees Ferry reach • Increased Lees Ferry rainbow trout and more trout throughout the Grand Canyon • Increasing population of endangered humpback chub • Temporary beach-building followed by ongoing erosion of sediment resources and cultural resource sites
  54. 54. Stakeholder Cooperation • Disparate interests and values remain, but willing to engage, discuss and plan • Major experiments agreed to and recommended to Secretary of the Interior • Willingness to look beyond dam operations for resource protection • Development of comprehensive plan for humpback chub recovery actions
  55. 55. Watershed Management - Conclusion • Stakeholder Cooperation • Long-Term Commitment to Process • Willingness to Look Beyond Your Own Agenda • Willingness to Look at Other Point of View
  56. 56. Thank you. April 29, 2014