Presenter/Author Information

N. W. T. Quinn

Keywords

tmdl, sensor networks, real-time water quality management, wetlands, drainage, salt

Start Date

1-7-2008 12:00 AM

Description

Recent advances in sensor technologies and the steep decline in the cost of developing and operating sensor networks have led to an explosion of environmental applications. Real-time telemetry access to the environmental monitoring data produced by these sensor networks can now provided reliably and cheaply. However development of the institutional and administrative structures that turn this torrent of real-time data into information that informs decisions is more challenging - examples of successful sensor network projects that support decision-making at the basin-scale level are few. In this paper some of the challenges faced in making sensor networks an integral part of river basin management are described using an example from the San Joaquin River Basin of California. The San Joaquin River is an impaired water-body and one of the most regulated in the nation. An innovative alternative to EPA’s TMDL (Total Maximum Daily Load) pollutant control policy is being investigated which relies on forecasting salt assimilative capacity in the River in real-time and coordinating salt load discharge and diluting flow releases, in response to these forecasts while meeting downstream water quality objectives. The paper discusses key elements of real-time water quality management which address the technology (sensors, telemetry, visualization, databases, quality assurance procedures); information dissemination and technology transfer to stakeholders including decision support procedures; and cost containment strategies for long-term system deployment. In the paper one important set of stakeholders – the managers of seasonally drained wetlands - are singled out to clearly illustrate the impediments and adaptive solutions to this ambitious basin-scale project. Unique features of the project include the monitoring technologies chosen to accurately measure highly variable flows in irregular channels and some of the data quality assurance challenges that have ensued. Also the institutional differences between State, Federal and private wetland management that need to be recognized in the choice of software that helps to transform field data to information that can be used to guide decisions. The paper also discusses the concept of project assurances and how these are factored into the adaptive management conceptual model being followed to realize long-term project goals.

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Jul 1st, 12:00 AM

Integration of sensor networks and decision support tools for basin-scale, real-time water quality management

Recent advances in sensor technologies and the steep decline in the cost of developing and operating sensor networks have led to an explosion of environmental applications. Real-time telemetry access to the environmental monitoring data produced by these sensor networks can now provided reliably and cheaply. However development of the institutional and administrative structures that turn this torrent of real-time data into information that informs decisions is more challenging - examples of successful sensor network projects that support decision-making at the basin-scale level are few. In this paper some of the challenges faced in making sensor networks an integral part of river basin management are described using an example from the San Joaquin River Basin of California. The San Joaquin River is an impaired water-body and one of the most regulated in the nation. An innovative alternative to EPA’s TMDL (Total Maximum Daily Load) pollutant control policy is being investigated which relies on forecasting salt assimilative capacity in the River in real-time and coordinating salt load discharge and diluting flow releases, in response to these forecasts while meeting downstream water quality objectives. The paper discusses key elements of real-time water quality management which address the technology (sensors, telemetry, visualization, databases, quality assurance procedures); information dissemination and technology transfer to stakeholders including decision support procedures; and cost containment strategies for long-term system deployment. In the paper one important set of stakeholders – the managers of seasonally drained wetlands - are singled out to clearly illustrate the impediments and adaptive solutions to this ambitious basin-scale project. Unique features of the project include the monitoring technologies chosen to accurately measure highly variable flows in irregular channels and some of the data quality assurance challenges that have ensued. Also the institutional differences between State, Federal and private wetland management that need to be recognized in the choice of software that helps to transform field data to information that can be used to guide decisions. The paper also discusses the concept of project assurances and how these are factored into the adaptive management conceptual model being followed to realize long-term project goals.