Integrated Water Availability Assessments using Cooperative Matching Funds

Science Center Objects

A group of new projects from across the U.S. will help to support development of National and Regional Integrated Water Availability Assessments (IWAAs). They will be conducted with State and local partners with the support of Cooperative Matching Funds and will focus on improving the data, tools, and information stakeholders need to make water-resource management decisions.

In FY 2019, Congress provided the Water Availability and Use Science Program (WAUSP) with additional resources to pilot Integrated Water Availability Assessments (IWAAs). In response, the WAUSP selected 10 new projects across the U.S. that will help to support development of National and Regional IWAAs. This work will be conducted with State and local partners with the support of Cooperative Matching Funds (CMF) and will cover a variety of technical topics focused on improving our ability to provide the data, tools, and information stakeholders need to make water-resource management decisions. 

Grey map of the Unites States with the initial ten Integrated Water Availability Assessment projects highlighted in blue


The selected projects include:

Delaware River Basin Pilot, which integrates four selected projects:

Projects outside of the pilot study area


Delaware River Basin Pilot

Grey map of the North East with the Delaware River Watershed highlighted in blue

As a result of the FY2019 IWAAs CMF call for submissions, multiple centers within the Delaware River Basin (DRB) will work with basin stakeholders to develop a holistic workplan addressing potential impacts of the drought of record under current supply and demand conditions. This workplan will integrate the four selected projects below. Additional deliverables include a model to predict daily withdrawal for public supply water use, improved predictions of streamflow during drought periods, improved water-quality modeling processes, and evaluating the utility of National scale models to inform local water management.

Development of model to predict daily water use for public supply management

This study will develop a predictive model for daily public supply withdrawals in a subbasin of the DRB, output will be compared to disaggregated monthly data to assess model performance. This effort will support development of a National model to estimate daily withdrawals for public supply as part of the Water Budget Estimation and Evaluation Project (WBEEP).

Identifying spatial and temporal drivers to predict drought in the Delaware River Basin

This study will focus on improving predictions of streamflow during periods of drought within the DRB. Multiple factors in both space and time affect streamflow in the basin, and these factors will be evaluated to develop optimal models of streamflow under periods of drought, such as the drought of record in the mid-1960’s.

Simulation of water quality in tributaries to the Delaware Estuary

The goal of this study is to develop watershed model(s) of four large tributaries to the Delaware River Estuary: Crosswicks, Rancocas, Pennsauken, and Raccoon Creeks. The tributary models will provide a tool to assess water quality impairments and evaluate nutrient reduction scenarios. Additionally, this project will help inform the process with which we will incorporate water-quality into IWAAs.

Evaluation of the utility of national scale models to inform local water management

This study is designed to research the veracity and limitations of the full range of predicted flows for water supply availability within highly regulated basins of New Jersey. Performance of National extent models, such as the National Hydrologic Model, will be evaluated against existing DRB surface water models. This pilot will help to inform ongoing development of the National IWAAs as well as water prediction through the Water Prediction Work Program (2WP).



Projects outside of the pilot study area

The following studies were selected outside of the Delaware River Basin pilot and will be critical in informing continued development of both National and Regional IWAAs as well as achievement of the deliverables associated with the Action Plan in response to the Presidential Memo on Western Water Availability.


Grey map of the midwest with the Fox-Wolf-Peshtigo watersheds highlighted in blue which drain into Green Bay Wisconsin

A Nitrate Decision Support tool – Methods to approximate nitrate transport from the root zone to wells.

This study will use analytical methods to approximate nitrate transport, from the root zone through the vadose zone and aquifers, to facilitate evaluation of the effects of land and crop management on nitrate concentrations in wells and streams. The initial testing of the methods are focused on the Fox-Wolf-Peshtigo watersheds draining to Green Bay, Wisconsin; results from this project will help inform the process with which we will incorporate water quality into IWAAs.









Grey map of the Northwest with the Columbia Plateau Regional Aquifer system highlighted in blue

Assess the utility of a Regional Aquifer System groundwater model to inform the USGS National Hydrologic Model

This study will explore using a regional groundwater model to inform and improve National Hydrologic Model (NHM) streamflow prediction capability. Base flow derived from available streamgages will be compared to simulated base flow from the NHM and the Columbia Plateau Regional Aquifer System (CPLAT) model. The outcome of the study will be used to determine how groundwater models can most effectively be transferred to the NHM for improved performance in streamflow prediction which will improve operationalized assessments of water availability at the National extent (National IWAAs).








Grey map of the Gulf coast with the Trinity River watershed highlighted in blue

Integrated Water Availability Assessment of near real-time census and seasonal predictions of water availability for the Trinity River Basin

An additional Regional IWAAs pilot will be developed in the Trinity River Basin. While the full workplan is under development, deliverables will include long-term trend analyses, using the NHM to forecast future conditions and demand scenarios, evaluation of socioeconomic impacts in response to supply and demand scenarios, and information delivery.  Successful development and execution of this project will include coordination and collaboration with the Water Budget Estimation and Evaluation Project (WBEEP) to inform delivery of the Presidential Memo on Western Water Availability Action Plan, as well as the USGS Water Resources Mission Area's Integrated Information Dissemination Division (IIDD) and the Power to the User project to advance IWAAs information delivery.






Grey map of the west coast with the Sacramento-San Joaquin River watershed highlighted in blue

Power to the user: next generation tools for exploring and integrating water data in California’s Sacramento-San Joaquin River watershed

This project seeks to integrate water availability and water-quality data critical to California water management in the context of a novel, web-based “data playground” that allows users to explore hypotheses and test ideas directly in an interactive web interface with real-time data visualizations and analytics. Further, the work will integrate information from outside web-available sources such as National Weather Service (NWS) storm tracks and National Oceanic and Atmospheric (NOAA) coastal monitors, as well as real-time delivery of transport modeling results based on the existing flow network. This project will coordinate closely with IIDD to advance IWAAs information delivery.







Grey map of the west coast with the Russian River watershed highlighted in blue

Russian River water availability

This project is designed to help assess available water resources in the Russian River watershed and inform water resource decisions through development of a process based numerical model that includes socioeconomic tools that quantify the quantity of water available for both human (agricultural and municipal) and ecological (surface water needs for salmonoid). It will be constructed to assess the change in water availability historically and set up to easily test various scenarios, including climate variability and water use changes (such as land-use changes).








Grey map of the Midwest with the Cambrian-Ordovician aquifer system highlighted in blue

Water quality limiting Cambrian-Ordovician aquifer water availability – Upper Midwest

The proposed approach targets two widely occurring water quality drivers that affect water availability in the Cambrian-Ordovician aquifer system: pathogens and radium to characterize processes important for water quality at societally relevant drinking-water endpoints. Deliverables will be targeted to provide the basis for predicting future water quality on a near real-time basis. Additionally, this project will help inform the process with which we will incorporate water-quality into IWAAs.