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Integrating a GIS-produced, Reach-based Hydrologic Analysis into a Dynamic Surface Water Model of the Middle Rio Grande, New Mexico


Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1928/10485

Integrating a GIS-produced, Reach-based Hydrologic Analysis into a Dynamic Surface Water Model of the Middle Rio Grande, New Mexico

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Title: Integrating a GIS-produced, Reach-based Hydrologic Analysis into a Dynamic Surface Water Model of the Middle Rio Grande, New Mexico
Author: Demint, Ann
Subject: Middle Rio Grande basin
Low Flow Conveyance Channel (LFCC)
Rio Grande Compact
San Juan-Chama Project
Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District (MRGCD)
Silvery minnow (Hybognathus amarus)
Abstract: Using the Powersim™ software platform, a dynamic systems model was built to explore the surface water supply in the Middle Rio Grande in New Mexico from Cochiti Dam to Elephant Butte Dam. A number of similar models exist but do not include a spatial component and/or attempt to model terms with a great deal of uncertainty, such as riparian evapotranspiration, ungaged tributary inflow, and effective precipitation. This model simulates the Middle Rio Grande in six reaches, extending from Cochiti Dam to Elephant Butte Dam, a distance of approximately 175 miles. Ungaged tributary inflow and effective precipitation are successfully included through the use of an ArcGIS-based hydrologic analysis and precipitation profiles built with paleoprecipitation reconstructions for New Mexico over the last 1000 years. The simulation results are compared to gaged river flows over the past 50 years through a probabilistic distribution analysis. Generally, probabilistic analysis indicates the model may be optimistic in its estimation of river flows, although not in the year to year variability of those flows. Thus, either the inflows are overestimated by the model relative to the last 50 years, or the outflows are underestimated, or a combination of both. However, comparison of the distribution of the precipitation profile data source (1000 years long) and the model precipitation profiles indicate inflows are appropriately simulated. Alternatively, the model seems to represents the last 50 years fairly well in the upper reaches, but has difficulty in the lower reaches. Nevertheless, the model can provide useful information when comparing simulation results to each other. Year to year variability is very high and clearly maintained from gage to gage. Not surprisingly, the very dry climate is the “worst” climate scenario, with a lowest average flow at San Marcial of 691 cfs. The “best” scenario was the moderately wet and consistent climate with an average flow of 1053 cfs at San Marcial. When considering compliance with the Rio Grande Compact, the average consistent climate was the worst, generating 38 years of accrued debit status and 18 years of annual debits. A correlation analysis indicated gage flows for each reach have a positive 1 to 1 correlation with sub-basin runoff. Open water evaporation was positively correlated to a moderate extent with gage flows, reflecting the influence of surface area on evaporation. In addition to these analyses, the simulation results revealed the effects of the price of water by using an economic demand equation. A “conservation” price path was designed to meet Albuquerque’s goals of 150 gpcd by 2014 and 130 gpcd by 2040. This path and a 2.5 percent annual increase price path caused immediate reductions in the total demand volume and reductions in the San Juan-Chama diversion by 2014. However, the conservation price path led to a rebound in the diversion, with full diversion again occurring by 2038 even though per capita use was only 132 gpcd. The 2.5 percent price path began to rebound in 2032 when per capita use reached the imposed lower limit of 75 gpcd. More moderate price increases of 1.25 percent and 1.5 percent reduced the San Juan-Chama diversion in 2042 and 2030, respectively. No rebound occurred and per capita use reached a low of 75 gpcd and 101 gpcd by 2053. The 1.5 percent or 2.5 percent annual price increases converged in 2053 at a maximum reduction of the San Juan-Chama diversion at almost 62,000 AF per year, with per capita use of 75 gpcd. While reduction of the San Juan-Chama diversion led to increases in the flow at the Albuquerque gage, declines in per capita use resulted in decreases at the Bernardo gage, caused by declines in wastewater return flows in that reach. The simulated drop in the Bernardo gage flow was small, less than an annual average of 45 cfs at its maximum. Although the model produced simulation results with a “wetter” distribution than the past 50 years, it provides a platform for exploring the relative impact of management alternatives. Interestingly, the averages are not as far apart as the probabilistic distribution. Thus, “average” is a dangerous word for the Middle Rio Grande and may misrepresent future climates and river flows.
Date: 2010-04-29
Series: Publication (University of New Mexico. Water Resources Program) ; no. WRP-12
Description: This publication is the Professional Project report of Ann D. Demint, submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the Master of Water Resources degree at the University of New Mexico (December 2005).
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1928/10485

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wrp-12 Appendix E.doc 37Kb Microsoft Word View/Open Appendix E

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