Hydraulics/Hydrology Seminar Series
A Risk-Based Framework for Estimating Watershed Health
Lyles School of Civil Engineering
Tuesday, November 24, 2015
In the United States several federal and state agencies collect water quality data from stream networks and compare with established standards to determine if violations have occurred. A risk-based framework was previously proposed where the frequency and severity of water quality violations were used to compute reliability, resilience, and vulnerability (R-R-V) measures. In this study a modified methodology of computing R-R-V measures is presented and a new composite watershed health index is proposed. These measures are then used in the identification of critical source areas for different water quality constituents, and to quantify their trends over time and their distribution in space. The development and preliminary application of a web-based interface that may be used with ease by decision makers, scientific community, and the general public to make risk-based assessments of watersheds in three major river basins in the Midwest with respect to several water quality parameters. In addition to providing R-R-V measures and their probability distributions, the tool enables the user to view and download plots of reconstructed water quality loads and other statistical measures. This web-based product will serve as a first stop for the scientific community, regulators, and decision makers to identify areas that need special attention to reduce ecologic and hydrologic risk, and develop programs to implement better management practices.