2002 Annual

Thursday, 17 January 2002: 2:00 PM
Agricultural water resources decision support system and evapotranspiration toolbox
Curtis L. Hartzell, U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, Denver, CO; and L. A. Brower and S. Hansen
Poster PDF (350.0 kB)
There is a critical need for rapid improvement in calculating and forecasting daily agricultural and riparian water consumptive use demands along the Rio Grande. To help meet this need, an Agricultural WAter Resources Decision Support (AWARDS) system was implemented. This is an automated information system on the Internet designed to assist water managers and users by providing easy access to rainfall and crop water use estimates. These estimates are based on real-time data obtained from WSR-88D (Weather Surveillance Radar - 1988 Doppler) radar systems and automated weather stations.

The Bureau of Reclamation is currently developing an Evapotranspiration (ET) Toolbox that builds on the AWARDS system, adding GIS land use to specify acreage, crop and riparian use, and open water evaporation estimates for nominal 4-km grid cells. The primary purpose of the ET Toolbox is to accumulate the grid cells' daily rainfall and water use estimates within specified river reaches. These estimates are imported into RiverWare, which is the river modeling and water accounting system used by the Upper Rio Grande Water Operations Model.

System enhancements are being made in near real time to provide specialized support. One recent enhancement is the implementation of using National Centers for Environmental Prediction Eta Model weather forecast parameters at 20-km grid resolution to improve the ET Toolbox's 24-hr and 48-hr ET forecasts. These forecasts appear to be in good agreement with daily ET computed from weather station data.

Rio Grande water managers used the ET Toolbox Web site several times a day during the severe 2000 drought to direct critical water releases for the threatened Silvery Minnow and to meet other irrigation demands. They found that the ET Toolbox information is "invaluable" for their decision making.

Supplementary URL: http://www.usbr.gov/rsmg/nexrad