Decision support for active water management
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Active water management uses real-time information to continually respond and adjust to water management needs and situations. To support active water management, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) needs tools to access and understand data and to apply that understanding to operational decisions. The work described herein addresses two objectives in providing decision-support for the TCEQ: (1) methods for including environmental pulse flow regulations in water rights documents, and (2) improved ease of access to information needed for TCEQ watermaster operations, particularly in times of drought. A Pulse Scaling Method for calculating the trigger flow rate, volume, and duration of flow pulses, using known characteristics at a reference location A, that are appropriate at a target location B (with unknown characteristics) was developed from three key relationships found in the written environmental flow regulations for fifteen locations in the Trinity, San Jacinto, Sabine, and Neches basins. Applying the method and analyzing the results shows that the predictions are statistically consistent with original regulations. A Common Operating Picture is a layered web-map allowing simultaneous access to one or more spatially-related datasets that TCEQ watermaster staff need to consider in decision-making. By its very nature as a dynamic map with associated time series, the Common Operating Picture presents data as information in a way that can support water resource management and decision-making. The project is currently in the pilot stage, with a number of data sources included and an interface available, but with additional work planned and further testing needed before larger-scale implementation.