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Optimum Management in a Watershed With Changing Water-supply and Water-quality Problems

Water cycle imageProblem: Historically, water purveyors have applied various techniques to solve water-supply and water-quality problems. Although most water purveyors rely on some form of conjunctive use of ground and surface waters, seldom is there optimum management of an entire water system. Improved management of complex hydrologic systems should be possible by developing and applying hydraulic- and economic-optimization techniques. But, to date, there has been little actual use of optimization techniques to solve real-world water-supply and water-quality problems. The San Bernardino area of southern California was chosen to test the application of optimization techniques to help solve complex water-management problems.

Objective: Develop and apply optimization techniques to demonstrate their usefulness in a real-world setting for conjunctive management of ground-water pumpage, ground-water levels, ground-water quality, and artificial recharge of surface water. Research will focus on developing new methodologies to incorporate system and parameter uncertainty in the optimization model.

Relevance and Benefits: This project focuses on several contemporary hydrologic issues and provides a number of important benefits to the public. For example, it will: Advance knowledge of the hydrologic system in the San Bernardino area. Much of this knowledge will be gained from development and calibration of a linked surface-water and ground-water flow model. Substantial additional insight will be gained from evaluation of the hydrologic system using the model in combination with constrained optimization techniques.

Advance the methodology of applying constrained optimization techniques to help manage a surface-water/ground-water system. Significant technical and philosophical questions still exist about how to best use these mathematical techniques to achieve real public benefit. This project will help define how to accomplish this goal.

Advance understanding of the hydrologic processes governing the shallow, mostly fine-grained hydrogeologic unit located in the historical discharge area of the Bunker Hill basin. In particular, quantify the relation between the shallow system and the underlying valley-fill aquifer. This hydrogeologic setting is common in the arid western United States and plays a major role in environmental issues involving soil liquefaction and maintenance of native vegetation.

Provide unbiased data and results that will be used by the more than 20 water agencies in the area so that they can better resolve their multiple and continuing water issues.

Provide water-resources information that will be used by the more than 20 local water agencies in planning and operating artificial-recharge basins, ground-water extractions, and ground-water cleanup facilities.

Provide hydrologic data and information that will contribute to protecting life and property in the San Bernardino area. In particular, this study focuses on minimizing damage from possible soil liquefaction and land subsidence. Contribute data to national databases used to assess and use global climatological models.

Approach: Key aspects of the ground-water system will be verified to ensure accurate simulation with the existing ground-water-flow model. A surface- water distribution model will be designed and constructed. Critical water- quality problems and potential management options will be identified. A hydraulic/economic-optimization model will be developed that combines the surface- and ground-water models with the water-quality issues. New methods of water management will be evaluated.

Progress and Significant Results in FY 1999: During fiscal year 1999 with the considerable help of SBVMWD staff, several historical pumpage datasets were cross-referenced to provide a single consistent dataset for the period 1947- 98. Land surveys of the Bunker Hill basin from 1904 to 1998 were obtained and analyzed to determine if additional land subsidence has occurred since 1970, in particular as a result of pumping in the area of the former marshland. The Geographic Information System (GIS) of the area was modified to include the land-subsidence data and satellite photos. A satellite platform was installed at the multiple-depth monitoring well site in the SBVMWD backyard in order to put the continuously recorded water-level data onto the Internet in a timely, automated way.

Investigations in the Yucaipa basin focused on preparing the report, entitled Surface-water and ground-water quality in the Yucaipa area, San Bernardino and Riverside Counties, California, 199698. A draft of this report was submitted for colleague review.

Plans for FY 2000: During fiscal year 2000, investigations in the Bunker Hill and Lytle Creek basins will evaluate additional water-management scenarios, in particular those associated with ground-water contamination and control of high ground water. InSAR images will be obtained and interpreted to identify recent land subsidence and physical characteristics of the aquifer system. A report describing the results of the land-subsidence investigation will be prepared. GIS coverages of land subsidence and measured ground-water levels will be prepared for public release. Three additional satellite platforms will be installed at multiple-depth monitoring well sites along the Santa Ana River so that continuously recorded water-level data will be available via the Internet in the same way that surface-water data are available.

Investigations in the Yucaipa basin will focus on publication of the water- quality report and preparation of a preliminary ground-water flow model that incorporates the water-quality findings and results of drilling. Two additional multiple-depth monitoring wells will be installed in the Yucaipa area to better identify the hydrostratigraphy of the basin, to monitor ground- water levels, and to analyze ground-water quality.

Number: CA467
Cooperating Agencies: San Bernardino Valley Municipal Water District
Project Chief: Wesley R. Danskin
Period of Project: Continuing
Team: Carmen Burton, Dennis Clark, Phil Contreras , Steve Crawford, Devin Galloway, Randy Hanson, John Matti, GD, Kelly McPherson, Greg Mendez, Sylvia Stork, Denise Tung, Rob Williams, GD, Kay Witter, Jerry Woodcox, Zhong Lu, NMD

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