348189 Evaluation Of Watershed Models For Simulation Of Salt Mass Balance Of Seasonally Managed Wetlands In The San Joaquin River Basin

Monday, November 4, 2013
Grand Ballroom B (Hilton)
Helen Bergstrom, Brown University, Providence, RI and Nigel W.T. Quinn, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Berkeley, CA

Increased demand for and over-allocation of fresh water resources in the San Joaquin River Basin (SJRB) has necessitated the creation of real-time water quality management (RTWQM) strategies to ensure that downstream water quality objectives are met. The Grasslands Water District (GWD), 47,795 acres of natural and artificial seasonal wetlands, has been identified as an area of priority for real-time salinity management. Salinity in the GWD is of special concern as wetland drainage release periods correspond to periods of low assimilative capacity in the SJRB and the irrigation season of salt-sensitive crops. In this study, two proposed RTWQM models, Watershed Analysis Risk Management Framework (WARMF) and WetManSim, were evaluated using the concept of mass balance in order to validate their hydrological assumptions. Major mass imbalances were found in the WARMF model resulting in an average change in catchment storage capacity of ±2.02 feet per water year. This imbalance is most likely due to the lack of integration of irrigation demand calculations and artificial wetland flooding schedules.  WetManSim was found to be in mass balance however the model is limited to average monthly as opposed to daily analysis. WARMF shows promise as a powerful water-quality management tool. Integration of an irrigation demand calculator could help more accurately represent inflows to land catchments. As WARMF and other RTWQM models advance it is important that users understand the assumptions behind each model and critically evaluate results before using them for environmental decision-making.

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