State Water Resources Research Institute Program


Project ID: 2012ID178B
Title: Developing a Conjunctive Water Resources Planning and Management Model for the Eastern Snake River Plain
Project Type: Research
Start Date: 3/01/2012
End Date: 2/28/2013
Congressional District: ID 2
Focus Categories: Management and Planning, Drought
Keywords: Surface water and Groundwater Interactions, Human and Natural Systems
Principal Investigator: Ryu, Jae (University of Idaho)
Federal Funds: $ 15,000
Non-Federal Matching Funds: $ 28,075
Abstract: The management and control of water supply in the Snake River Basin is critical to the economic development of the arid portions of southern Idaho. The expansion of groundwater irrigation on the Eastern Snake River Plain (ESRP) and the improved efficiencies in surface water irrigation application continue to threaten reliable water resources in groundwater discharge from the Eastern Snake Plain Aquifer (ESPA) into the Snake River Canyon. Therefore, the state agencies, such as Idaho Department of Water Resource (IDWR) and Idaho Water Resource Board (IWRB) have put a lot of effort to better manage the ESPA through a Comprehensive Aquifer Management Plan (CAMP) processes. Some of the scenarios for the CAMP project were simulated by running IDWR's Snake River Planning Model (SRPM) and the Enhanced Snake Plain Aquifer Model (ESPAM) in parallel. While significant work has gone into developing and improving the ESPAM over the last decade, little has been done to update the reservoir operations model. In order to assess and plan adaptive management strategies for the ESRP CAMP there is a need to update the reservoir operation model.

One of critical criteria in selecting a new platform on which to model reservoir operations for planning purposes, is that the model must be able to account for the conjunctive management of groundwater and surface water. Response functions generated in ESPAM have been found to provide an adequate means for studying conjunctive management when applied to the Bureau of Reclamations (BoR) Snake River Basin Model (SRBM) and a suite of university based research models (Miller et al., 1999; VanRehneenan et al., 2003; Hoekema, 2011). This research will utilize the response functions in using the Riverware modeling platform to recreate historic discharge from the ESRP to the Snake River between Milner Dam and King Hill over the period from 1928-2010. Response functions will be applied to model the impacts of tributary base flow, natural recharge, and changes in surface and groundwater irrigation over the study period. The research will mainly focus on understanding the uncertainty related to the spatial and temporal application of response functions. Note that no effort will be made to model reservoir operations at this stage, as historic surface water irrigation will be applied directly within the model. Should the Riverware modeling framework be found to adequately represent spring discharge from the ESPA, IDWR could then expand the project to develop a new reservoir operations model.

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