Determining the Skill and Value of Incorporating Streamflow Forecasts into an Early Drought Detection System

Project Leader: 
Research Partners: 
Dr. Josh Weiss (Hazen and Sawyer), Susquehanna River Basin Commission, City of Baltimore
Project Fellows: 
Status: 
Ongoing
Science Themes: 

This research investigates forecast skill in predicting the onset and severity of drought.  One of the unique features of NECSC research agenda is the active engagement of major a number of water supply utilities and an evaluation of how climate informed short-term streamflow forecasts and longer-range climate change forecasts influence the water supply systems.  We have engaged with the cities of Boston, New York, Providence, Philadelphia, and Baltimore to explore how operational policies that consider climate change can help them prepare for the future conditions that may be different than in the past, particularly in terms of variability.   In one case, a project, including an evaluation of seasonal-scale hydrologic forecasts for the east coast, has been advised by ongoing discussions with the New York City Department of Environmental Protection, the organization responsible for providing the city's drinking water. This has been performed with conjunction of CCRUN.  In addition, another project focused over a two year period with the City of Baltimore and the Susquehanna River Basin Commission to develop climate-informed drought plans for managing the water supply of Baltimore. 

Streamflow forecasts are incorporated with other key drought indices in a composite drought index to predict and classify drought severity. The skill of the combined drought indices is demonstrated through a case study on the Baltimore Water Supply. A web-based decision support tool is under development that will provide operators of the Baltimore Water Supply and the greater Susquehanna River Basin enhanced understanding of operational alternatives and impacts.  An OASIS Model: Operations and Planning Tool for hte Greater Susquehanna River Basin and Climate re-forecasts (NOAA, NWS, MARFC) and a STELLA web tool model of the City of Baltimore water and a case study of drought indicators supplare both in development.

 

 

 

 

Presentations: 
  • New England Graduate Student Water Symposium. September 11-13, 2015.
  • Workshop with City of Baltimore, Susquehanna River Basin Commission, and Hazen and Sawyer. Ocober 23, 2015.
  • Determining the Skill and Value of Incorporating Streamflow Forecasts into An Early Drought Detection System, AWWA 2016 Sustainabile Water Management Conference. March 9, 2016.
  • Drought Management Using Streamflow Forecasts: A Case Study of the City of Baltimore Water Supply, EWRI World Environmental & Water Resources Congress 2016, May 22-26, 2016
  • Analyzing Streamflow Forecasts in the Context of System Performance: A Case study for Baltimore’s Water Supply, American Water Resources Association (AWRA) Annual Conference  - Oral Presentation November 13-17, 2016
Other: 
  • STELLA Drought Action Response Tool (DART): Screening tool for drought indicators and baltimore responses                                                                      
  • SRB OASIS Model: Operations & Planning Tool for the Greater Susquehanna River Basin                                                                                                               
  • Climate re-forecasts (NOAA NWS, MARFC)
  • 3 Baltimore Workshops. Presented results to the director of the Baltimore Department of Public Works during the March workshop.
  • Phone conference with the SRBC, given management scenarios to put into DART model which was developed in close coordination with input from the baltimore DPW
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