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Improving Managed Environmental Water Use EfficiencyEPA Grant Number: F5C20422
Title: Improving Managed Environmental Water Use Efficiency
Investigators: Null, Sarah
Institution: University of California - Davis
EPA Project Officer: Manty, Dale
Project Period: August 1, 2005 through August 1, 2008
Project Amount: $96,876
RFA: STAR Graduate Fellowships (2005) RFA Text | Recipients Lists
Research Category: Academic Fellowships
Although water supplies have been allocated for environmental use to protect aquatic ecosystems, more efficient use of environmental water supplies could enhance instream conditions and improve environmental protection. Urban and agricultural water agencies actively manage their water supplies to improve water efficiency through coordinated use of existing supplies, conjunctive use of ground and surface water, water conservation, water transfers, desalination, and recycling programs. Some of these methods also could be applied to the environmental sector to increase environmental protection with limited water allocations. This study will focus on the potential of water transfers and jointly managed water supply operations to improve environmental water use efficiency.
California’s Shasta River will be used as a case study to analyze environmental water transfers to enhance existing habitat for native salmon. Computer optimization modeling will provide a framework to analyze the potential of water transfers to improve existing habitat. The Shasta River will also be analyzed as a jointly managed system to optimize operations for diverse environmental, urban, and agricultural uses. This may highlight methods to re-operate current infrastructure for additional environmental protection. GIS modeling will be used to look at tributaries and upstream reaches to assess if it may be possible to remove dams, add fish bypass structures, or change land use practices to increase upstream fish habitat.
As new water supplies become increasingly difficult to secure in the American West, attention will focus on how to best manage existing supplies for traditional and environmental uses. This project will contribute to increased knowledge to improve managed environmental water use efficiency and innovate management practices. This study is practical research that will advance water management decisions, planning, and implementation of aquatic restoration programs.