A Decision Support System to Manage Summer Stream Temperatures

By David W. Neumann, Edith A. Zagona and Balaji Rajagopalan. Published in the Journal of the American Water Resources Association, 2006.

Abstract: Warm summer stream temperatures due to low flows and high air temperatures are a critical water quality problem in many western United States river basins because they impact threatened fish species\' habitat. One way to alleviate this problem is for local and federal organizations to purchase water rights to be used to increase flows, hence decrease temperatures. Presented is a Decision Support System (DSS) that can be used in an operations mode to effectively use water acquired to mitigate warm stream temperatures. The DSS uses a statistical model for predicting daily stream temperatures and a rule-based module to compute reservoir releases. Water releases are calculated to meet fish habitat temperature targets based on the predicted stream temperature and a user specified confidence of the temperature predictions. Strategies that enable effective use of a limited amount of water throughout the season have also been incorporated in the DSS. The utility of the DSS is demonstrated by an example application to the Truckee River near Reno, Nevada, using hypothetical operating policy and 1988 through 1994 inflows. Results indicate that the DSS could substantially reduce the number of target temperature violations (i.e., stream temperatures exceeding the target temperature levels detrimental to fish habitat).


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