Water Resources Engineering (WRE) connects engineering hydrology and hydraulics with global, economic, environmental, and societal issues. Our student Haley Canham makes this connection here…

Water Resources Engineering (WRE) connects engineering hydrology and hydraulics with global, economic, environmental, and societal issues. Our student, Haley Canham, makes this connection here with the Minute 319 agreement between the US and Mexico concerning water management of the Colorado River in times of drought.

The article, Dynamic Delta: Policies, Partnerships, and water for the Colorado River Delta by Karen Schlatter from the Water Resources Impact Journal was published in September of 2013. The article concerns both the hydraulic aspect of dam water management and the hydrology aspect on the ecological benefits as a result of restored river flow. The story dealt with the movement of water and the effects of the restored flow on the ecosystem. Due to withdrawals from the river for agriculture use and damming the Colorado River has not reached the sea since the 1960s. The article explains the expected effects of the release of 130 million cubic meters of water from the Morelos dam, part of the Minute 319 agreement. The article focused heavily on the ecology of the delta and the restoration that the released pulse of water would have on the delta. The WRE facts in the article do seem to be accurate. Occasional El Nino effects bring heavy rain to the region and the effect on the delta can be seen. Water reuse and constructed wetlands for wastewater filtration on the delta are referred to in the article as a way to restore the delta. Both accurately reflect WRE and the effects that restored flow would bring to the delta. More information on the effects of the volume of water in the 70 miles of river bed to the delta would be important information for determining the effectiveness of the released water pulse.

The issue has numerous effects including environmental, economic, societal, and global. Environmentally, the restoration of the delta would bring back large diversity and life to the delta. Many people have historically depended on the river and the delta for social and economic aspects. The restoration of the delta would also restore important fisheries, an important local economic source. Finally, the agreement between the US and Mexico and the released pulse flow have set an example for other countries and rivers that no longer reach the sea. The pulse flow has already impacted the delta through water reaching the sea for the first time since the 1960s for an extended period of time. The release was timed to coincide with plant seed production. The delta has seen a positive effect as a result of the pulse flow. Another article, The Colorado River by Jackson Reed from the Water Resources Impact Journal published September 2013, also addresses this issue. The released pulse flow has had a positive impact on the Colorado River Delta and provides important data for future restoration efforts.

URL: http://connection.ebscohost.com/c/articles/89761708/dynamic-delta-policies-partnerships-water-colorado-river-delta

Figure 1-The Colorado River Delta during the pulse flow, March 2013, source: National Geographic

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Sources

Howard, B., (March 22, 2014). Historic “Pulse Flow” Brings Water to Parched Colorado River Delta, National Geographic News.

Jackson, R. (September 2013). The Colorado River. Water Resources Impact, 15 (5) 1.

Schlatter, K., (September 2013). Dynamic Delta: Policies, Partnerships, and water for the Colorado River Delta. Water Resources Impact, 15 (5) 3-5.

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