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Summary of hydrologic modeling for the Delaware River Basin using the Water Availability Tool for Environmental Resources (WATER)

November 18, 2015

The Water Availability Tool for Environmental Resources (WATER) is a decision support system for the nontidal part of the Delaware River Basin that provides a consistent and objective method of simulating streamflow under historical, forecasted, and managed conditions. In order to quantify the uncertainty associated with these simulations, however, streamflow and the associated hydroclimatic variables of potential evapotranspiration, actual evapotranspiration, and snow accumulation and snowmelt must be simulated and compared to long-term, daily observations from sites. This report details model development and optimization, statistical evaluation of simulations for 57 basins ranging from 2 to 930 km2 and 11.0 to 99.5 percent forested cover, and how this statistical evaluation of daily streamflow relates to simulating environmental changes and management decisions that are best examined at monthly time steps normalized over multiple decades. The decision support system provides a database of historical spatial and climatic data for simulating streamflow for 2001–11, in addition to land-cover and general circulation model forecasts that focus on 2030 and 2060. WATER integrates geospatial sampling of landscape characteristics, including topographic and soil properties, with a regionally calibrated hillslope-hydrology model, an impervious-surface model, and hydroclimatic models that were parameterized by using three hydrologic response units: forested, agricultural, and developed land cover. This integration enables the regional hydrologic modeling approach used in WATER without requiring site-specific optimization or those stationary conditions inferred when using a statistical model.

Publication Year 2015
Title Summary of hydrologic modeling for the Delaware River Basin using the Water Availability Tool for Environmental Resources (WATER)
DOI 10.3133/sir20155143
Authors Tanja N. Williamson, Jeremiah G. Lant, Peter R. Claggett, Elizabeth A. Nystrom, Paul C.D. Milly, Hugh L. Nelson, Scott A. Hoffman, Susan J. Colarullo, Jeffrey M. Fischer
Publication Type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Series Title Scientific Investigations Report
Series Number 2015-5143
Index ID sir20155143
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Kentucky Water Science Center