Integrating Water Supply Management and Ecological Flow Requirements

EPA Grant Number: X3832386
Title: Integrating Water Supply Management and Ecological Flow Requirements
Investigators: Smith, Mark P. , Apse, Colin , Huber-Lee, Annette , Vogel, Richard
Current Investigators: Smith, Mark P. , Apse, Colin , Archfield, Stacey , Gao, Yongxuan , Huber-Lee, Annette , Joyce, Brian , Sieber, Jack , Vogel, Richard
Institution: Nature Conservancy, The , Tellus Institute , Tufts University
Current Institution: Nature Conservancy, The , Stockholm Environmental Institute , Tellus Institute , Tufts University
EPA Project Officer: Hahn, Intaek
Project Period: May 1, 2005 through April 30, 2008 (Extended to October 31, 2009)
Project Amount: $287,434
RFA: Collaborative Science & Technology Network for Sustainability (2004) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Sustainability , Pollution Prevention/Sustainable Development


This project addresses a question central to environmental sustainability - how to balance the use of water to meet both human and environmental needs. Across the country recent droughts have highlighted the limits of our ability to meet water supply needs in an environmentally sustainable manner. This proposal seeks funding to develop a decision support system (DSS) that will integrate scientific model of ecological flow needs, water demand management and water supply planning into a decision-oriented optimization framework that promotes preventative approaches. The DSS will allow water resource managers to simultaneously maximize use of water storage capacity, strategically use drought management measures to optimize their effectiveness, and meet key ecological flow needs based on real-time environmental conditions.


The DSS will foster sustainable water use by addressing four major gaps that presently impede ecologically-based sustainable water resource management:

  1. provide a consistent and defensible methodology that explicitly addressed multiple and competing water management objectives;
  2. integrate a more precise definition of ecosystem flow needs (beyond minimum flows) into existing water supply management approaches;
  3. provide a tool for optimizing timing and use of drought management and water conservation techniques into existing water supply management approaches;
  4. and provide new and more detailed information to water supply managers and stakeholders to facilitate inclusive and consensus-based decision-making.


The approach will be developed and tested through two demonstration projects. The DSS will be available as "open source" computer code and will be incorporated into the widely used Water Evaluation and Planning Tool (WEAP), a water supply planning and management model developed by the Tellus Institute, a co-PI of this project. As of June 2005, WEAP will be freely available to every water utility in the US [through funding by] that is a member of the American Water Works Association Research Foundation (AwwaRF). Results will be broadly shared with state and implemented through and existing collaboration between The Nature Conservancy, Tufts University and the Tellus Institute, each of whom has primary expertise in one of the three disciplines central to this project.

Publications and Presentations:

Publications have been submitted on this project: View all 21 publications for this project

Journal Articles:

Journal Articles have been submitted on this project: View all 3 journal articles for this project

Supplemental Keywords:

RFA, Scientific Discipline, Sustainable Industry/Business, cleaner production/pollution prevention, Sustainable Environment, Technology for Sustainable Environment, Urban and Regional Planning, sustainable development, sustainable water use, water evaluation and urban planning tool, decision making, ecological design, sustainable urban environment, water conservation

Progress and Final Reports:

  • 2005 Progress Report
  • 2006 Progress Report
  • 2007 Progress Report
  • 2008
  • Final Report