Spring 2013 Water Seminar Series - The Niobrara River Basin Study: Using Various Models to Assess Water Supplies and Demands

Brandi Flyr Author
01/25/2013 Added
163 Plays


The Niobrara River traverses approximately 535 river miles from its headwaters in Wyoming to the confluence with the Missouri River, while its basin covers 12,600 square miles of northern Nebraska.  There are varied water demands within the Niobrara River Basin, ranging from agriculture, hydropower, recreation, and wildlife.  Balancing the water supplies of the basin, with the varied nature, location, and timing of the needs for that water lends to management challenges and opportunities.  The Nebraska Department of Natural Resources (NDNR) is undertaking the Niobrara River Basin Study.  This study consists of various modeling tools to both determine the available surface-groundwater basin supplies and identify potential effects of various conjunctive water management options through uncertain future climate/water supply variability.             The modeling approach NDNR utilizes is unique, as it integrates a soil-moisture balance model, a groundwater model, and surface water operations model.  NDNR is currently utilizing this approach in several river basins.  Under the Bureau of Reclamation’s WaterSMART program, the Niobrara River Basin Study also includes a climate model component.  The climate model outputs will provide a series of potential future water supply (precipitation) scenarios to evaluate the effectiveness of various potential water management strategies.

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