Water quality models in the Colorado River Basin have been developed for the basin, river, and individual reservoirs. They are used to support water quality programs within the basin. The models are periodically reviewed and updated to improve the accuracy of simulations. Improving the usefulness of the Lake Powell model, one of the key reservoirs in the basin, is the subject of this study. Lake Powell is simulated using a hydrodynamic and water quality model, CE-QUAL-W2. Previously the model has been used at Lake Powell to simulate hydrodynamics, temperature, and total dissolved solids with a reasonable degree of accuracy. An additional parameter, dissolved oxygen, will be added to the simulations and then calibrated with observed data to verify accuracy. Dissolved oxygen distributions in Lake Powell vary seasonally and change under different hydrologic cycles. They are a function of physical, biological, and chemical processes. Few measurements of these processes in Lake Powell exist. To compensate for the lack of data an empirical method of loading oxygen demand to the model is developed and tested. Observed limnological processes in the reservoir guide the development of the empirical methods. The methods are then tested in 16 year model simulations and compared with dissolved oxygen measurements from the 16 year period. By accurately reproducing the dissolved oxygen distributions the Lake Powell model will have improved accuracy and also broaden its usefulness.



College and Department

Ira A. Fulton College of Engineering and Technology; Civil and Environmental Engineering



Date Submitted


Document Type





dissolved oxygen, Lake Powell, CE-QUAL-W2, reservoir water quality modeling, reservoir hydrodynamic modeling, dissolved oxygen depletion, metalimnion oxygen minimum, hypolimnetic oxygen depletion