Water Resources Research Act Program

Details for Project ID 2017NY239B

Dynamic sediment-discharge rating curve models to support climate-smart management of water quality in the New York City water supply system

Institute: New York
Year Established: 2017 Start Date: 2017-03-01 End Date: 2018-02-28
Total Federal Funds: $10,000 Total Non-Federal Funds: $20,000

Principal Investigators: Scott Steinschneider

Abstract: The proposed research will develop dynamic (i.e., time-varying) sediment loading – discharge rating curves for the Esopus Creek, a tributary in the Hudson River Estuary Basin and a major source of water supply for New York City (NYC). These dynamic rating curves will help the NYC Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) understand 1) how sediment yield per unit of streamflow has changed over time at multiple temporal scales (daily-decadal), 2) what aspects of climate variability are responsible for these fluctuations, and 3) how these fluctuations could be modeled under future climate scenarios. The analysis will emphasize the lasting impact of major floods on the flow-sediment relationship. This information is critically important because high suspended sediment following major floods threatens the ability of DEP to meet the requirements of NYC’s Filtration Avoidance Determination, which saves the city billions of dollars in avoided infrastructure costs for drinking water filtration. These events also disturb creek-side communities and aquatic ecosystems downstream on the Esopus Creek in Ulster County. This work will better enable NYC DEP to accurately generate and plan for scenarios of sedimentation under future climate with intensifying extreme events