Challenge. Develop a simulation tool that enables both quantification and management of surface water and groundwater resources in the short-term and overall water supply and demand planning and evaluation in the long-term.
Solution. INTERA developed a dynamic system simulation model that incorporates groundwater from local wells, as well as surface water from the San Juan-Chama project which brings water from Colorado into New Mexico via the Azotea Tunnel and through a series of reservoirs operated by the US Bureau of Reclamation and the Army Corps of Engineers. We have built an interactive water budget model that is capable of simultaneous analysis of multiple variables that affect the quantity of water resources available to the ABCWUA. Specifically, the ABCWUA needs an interactive tool that combines information from several different hydrologic models (both surface- and groundwater) to develop short- and long-term water budgeting that can, in turn, be used to plan supplies on an annual and longer term basis. To address this need, INTERA built a decision support system (DSS), using the GoldSim code, that is being used by ABCWUA staff for testing the effects of various future water availability scenarios (including the possible effects of climate change) and decisions on water withdrawal and distribution operations. In addition, water demands were evaluated to forecast the potential impacts of various demand scenarios on available supply. Multiple population scenarios were considered to evaluate the impact of projected population changes on demand. Demands were subdivided into consumptive (primarily outdoor irrigation) and non-consumptive (indoor uses which become return flows) to evaluate changes in consumptive use as a function of customer behavior and conservation programs. Demands were also evaluated, based on an overall gallons per capita per day (GPCD) value, to determine overall potential savings that might be realized through the implementation of conservation measures. INTERA is using the dynamic simulation model to evaluate various scenarios, identify potential future gaps in water supply, and begin the process of identifying and evaluating projects, alternatives, and strategies to fill potential future water-supply gaps. Results of the gap analysis, and subsequent development and evaluation of alternatives, are being used to develop policies in for updating the ABCWUA’s 2017 Water Resources Management Strategy.