The National Water Census
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The National Water Census * Part of the Initiative Overview of the Delaware River Basin Focus Area Study Jeffrey M Fischer [email protected] 609-771-3953. Delaware Source Water Collaborative May 8, 2014.

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The National Water Census * Part of the InitiativeOverview of the Delaware River Basin Focus Area StudyJeffrey M [email protected]

Delaware Source Water Collaborative

May 8, 2014

Objective of the Water Census: To place technical information and tools in the hands of stakeholders, allowing them to answer two primary questions about water availability:Does the Nation have enough freshwater to meet both human and ecological needs?Will this water be present to meet future needs?

Water Availability AnalysisThe process of determining the quantity and timing-characteristics of water, which is of sufficient quality, to meet human and ecological needs.Technical InformationSocio-economic ConsiderationsLegal ConsiderationsRegulatory ConsiderationsPolitical ConsiderationsUSGS only deals with the Technical Information!

Provide enhanced information on
Provide Enhanced Information On:

Daily ET from Satellite Data


Evapotranspiration (ET)

Ecological Flow Needs


Water Use and Consumption

  • Thermoelectric Power

  • Irrigation

  • Public Supply

    Information available at:

Thermoelectric Consumptive Use

Information DeliveryA web application for delivering water availability information at scales that are relevant to the user

Select the area of interest.

Generate information on water accounting components.

Work with the online tool to construct your water budget.

Access trend information.

Example from french creek
Example from French Creek

Beta version available on line in next few weeks

Focused water availability assessments testing grounds for the national water census
Focused Water Availability AssessmentsTesting grounds for the National Water Census



Water Quality

Water Use

Surface Water Trends,

Precipitation, etc

State, Local, Regional

Stakeholder Involvement

Global Change

Eco Flows

Defined Technical Questions to

be Answered

Delaware river basin focus area study usgs water census

Jeff Fischer, Susan Hutson, Jonathan Kennen, Kelly Maloney,

Marla Stuckey, Tanja Williamson, Ward Freeman,

And many more

Delaware River Basin Focus Area StudyUSGS Water Census

Study Started in 2012 and

will conclude in 2015

Stakeholder results areas of study
Stakeholder Results – Areas of Study

  • Water Use – Improved acquisition, management, and integration of water-use and water-supply data.

  • Robust Hydrologic Model – Evaluate growth of population centers, effects of land-use change, and effects of climate variability and climate change on water resources

  • Ecological Water Needs – Development of ecological-flow science for main stem & tributaries.

    • Evaluate flow alteration effects for ungaged tributaries.

    • Improve decision support tool on main stem

      Today’s talk focuses on Water Use and development of the Hydrologic Model.

Delaware river basin water use
Delaware River Basin Water Use

Temporal framework

  • Base year 2010

  • Multiple years as available

    • 2005-2010 NJ and PA

      Water-use transactions

  • Withdrawals

  • Type of use

  • Return flows

  • Interbasin transfers

  • Aquifer Storage and Recovery

Susan HutsonKristin LinseyRuss LudlowBetzaida ReyesJennifer Shourds

Data Collection

Delaware river basin water use1
Delaware River Basin Water Use

  • 26,135site-specific data records

    • single and multiple years

    • 6,343 unique sites include 5 interbasin transfers

  • Areal estimates

Data Collection

Total water use 7 000 mgal d
Total Water Use*7,000 Mgal/d

8% Groundwater

4,900 Mgal/d (70%)

Thermoelectric Power Generation

1,600 Mgal/d (23%)

Public supply and Self-supplied domestic

290 Mgal/d (4%)

Industrial, Commercial, and Mining

200 Mgal/d (3%)

Irrigation, Livestock, and Aquaculture


  • Hydroelectric power is an “in stream" use and is not included in this calculation.


4,900 Mgal/d


in Mgal/d




>0 - 10

10 - 100

100 - 200

200 - 300



300 - 3100



Public supply and self supplied domestic withdrawals 1 600 mgal d
Public Supply and Self-Supplied Domestic Withdrawals1,600 Mgal/d

  • Public supply withdrawals

    • 1,500 Mgal/d

      • 650 Mgal/d transferred out of basin

  • Self-supplied Domestic Withdrawals

    • 120 Mgal/d



Public supply
Public Supply

Public Supply Public Supply Public Supply

Withdrawals TransfersWater Use




1 - 10

10 - 100

100 - 200

200 - 300

300 - 1000

Determining self supplied domestic jack monti and jason finkelstein
Determining Self-Supplied DomesticJack Monti and Jason Finkelstein

Domestic use data not collected by U.S Census since 1990. Developed current domestic use estimates from:

USGS National Water Use Information Program

County use data every 5 years; 1985-2005

Estimates of total population served

U.S. Census

Decadal data on population and housing units

Block groups and blocks were analyzed

1990 census provided source of water information per block group housing units

Statistical determination of domestic use buck county pa example
Statistical Determination of Domestic UseBuck County, PA Example

Used population density 95th percent value to forecast/predict future years.

100 percent domestic self supply

Top five % flip to public supply

100 percent public supply

Example for sussex county delaware
Example for Sussex County, Delaware

Predicted population for P.S. blocks in 2000 (light and dark purple): 83,819

1990 Population of P.S. block groups (pink): 53,521

2000 Water-use Program

P.S. population : 78,420

1990 Water-use Program

P.S. population : 54,430

Basin wide results
Basin-Wide Results

*Population totals not fully apportioned to Delaware River Basin extent

(Total includes parts of counties not fully in basin)

Industrial commercial and mining 290 mgal d
Industrial, Commercial,and Mining 290 Mgal/d



& Mining

  • Industrial

    • 240 Mgal/d

  • Commercial

    • 34 Mgal/d

  • Mining

    • 18 Mgal/d



1 - 10

10 - 100

100 - 200

200 - 300

300 - 1031



Agriculture 200 mgal d


Agriculture200 Mgal/d*


170 Mgal/d


9.2 Mgal/d


18 Mgal/d



1 - 10

10 - 100

100 - 200

200 - 300

300 - 1031



* 60 percent of total was reported values

Rasterizing estimated livestock irrigation d ata
Rasterizing Estimated Livestock & Irrigation Data


  • 2010 USDA Crop Data Layer-CDL

  • 2010 USGS county livestock or irrigation use data

    And distributed by land use over county

Water use data c ompilation d issemination
Water Use Data Compilation & Dissemination

USGS SIR Report 2014

Web-portal data delivery

8-digit subbasin

data and methods

12-digit subbasin


13 subbasins

426 subbasins

Report out by end of calendar year

Web tool available in 2015

Estimating streamflow
Estimating Streamflow

  • Tool for predicting flow at ungaged basins based on correlation with historic flow at gaged sites – Marla Stuckey

  • Hydrologic model to evaluate how water stressors such as population growth, land-use change, and climate change affect the availability of water resources – Tanja Williamson

  • Both models are used in current evaluations and future predictions of ecological flow needs – Jonathan Kennen

Water hydrologic model
WATER Hydrologic Model

Water Availability Tool for Environmental Resources (WATER)

  • Used as a decision support tool to evaluate how water stressors such as population growth, land-use change, and climate change affect the availability of water resources.

  • Model encompasses the whole non-tidal Delaware River Basin.

  • Validated using precipitation, water-use, streamflow, and other information for the time period 2001 to 2011.

  • Simulations of future streamflow and water-availability conditions centered on 2030 and 2060 will incorporate projected changes in water use, land use, and climate in the watershed.

Tanja N. Williamson, Jeremiah Lant, Elizabeth Nystrom, Scott Hoffman, and Hugh Nelson

Water hydrologic model based on topmodel
WATER Hydrologic Modelbased on TOPMODEL

  • TOPography-based hydrological MODEL

  • Developed by Beven and Kirkby, 1979

  • “Physically-based watershed model that simulates the variable-source-area concept of streamflow generation.” (Wolock, 1993)

  • Three fundamental assumptions

    • steady-state recharge to the groundwater

    • hydraulic gradient of the water table ≈ the surface slope

    • transmissivity profile decreases exponentially with depth

Beven, K.J. and M.J. Kirkby. 1979. A physically based, variable contributing area model of basin hydrology. Hydrological Sciences Bulletin, v. 24, pp. 43-69.

Wolock, David M. 1993. Simulating the variable-source-area concept of streamflow generation with the watershed model TOPMODEL. USGS WRI 93-4124.




Water Budget


Areas or



Sub-surface flow


Over-land flow



Topmodel topographic wetness index
TOPMODEL topographic wetness index

Grid cells with the same TWI are hydrologically similar

Calculations need not be performed on every single grid cell.

High values of TWI  High potential for saturation

Low values of TWI  Low potential for saturation

Water a decision support tool
WATER – A decision support tool



Precipitation Record

or Forecast

Current Condition

Gaged Streams

Validated Model

Simulated Hydrograph


Potential Uses

Flow at

ungaged sites

Current conditions

Changed climate

Water availability

Land management


water allocation decisions

Landscape change

Resolution of spatial layers


Resolution of Spatial Layers

Histogram of TWI

Precipitation Record





Incorporate water use data
Incorporate Water-Use Data

  • Withdrawals

  • Returns/Discharges

  • Transfers

Representative Values

  • Long-term Median

  • Seasonal

    Data distributed over HUC 12 Basins. This will protect privacy information

Seasonal Contribution to Annual Total

426 basins

12.48 km2


270.06 km2

Percent of 2010 Total

Permit Number

Model validation
Model Validation

  • Minimally impacted basins

    • 1.5 to 675 km2 (0.6 to 261 mi2)

  • Comparison of streamflow estimates

    • USGS streamflow data

  • Evaluate potential bias in water budget

    • Snowpack

    • PET

Sites will also be valuable for evaluating future land use change scenarios.

Reservoir management system
Reservoir Management System

Initial work focusing on basin areas upstream of reservoirs.


  • WATER will export long-term record of flow in OASIS format

  • Use OASIS for points downstream of reservoirs

  • Non-OASIS users will use lake delay

Simulation of evapotranspiration
Simulation of Evapotranspiration

Potential Evapotranspiration (PET) – Hamon (1963)

Simulated Actual Evapotranspiration (AET) – limited by soil-moisture availability

For future hydrologic predictions water model needs projections of changes in
For Future Hydrologic Predictions WATER Model Needs Projections of Changes in:

  • Water Use

  • Climate

  • Land Use (subject of next talk)

Future global circulation models gcm
Future: Projections of Changes in: Global Circulation Models (GCM)



Coupled Model Intercomparison Project CMIP5

GCMs Previously used in the basin




  • CGCM4-CanES

    Change factor (delta) approach

    Target time periods

  • 2030

  • 2060

    Representative Concentration Pathways

  • RCP4.5

  • RCP8.5

  • 3736


    10 km2



    6 – 10 Cells

    100 – 200 km2

    Rcp scenario conditions
    RCP scenario conditions Projections of Changes in:

    At conclusion of the delaware study
    At Conclusion of the Projections of Changes in:Delaware Study

    • Database of water withdrawal, use, and return flow information for watersheds

    • Tool to estimate daily streamflow from 1960 to 2010 for ungaged streams

    • Hydrologic model of the non-tidal portions of the watershed tributaries

    • Flow and aquatic assemblage response relations for tributaries

    • An updated Decision Support System for sections of the main-stem Delaware

    Jeff Fischer [email protected] 609-771-3953