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Open-File Report 2004-1051

Simulated Water-Management Alternatives Using the Modular Modeling System for the Methow River Basin, Washington

Prepared in cooperation with the
U.S. Bureau of Reclamation

By Christopher P. Konrad


A precipitation-runoff model for the Methow River Basin was used to simulate six alternatives: (1) baseline of current flow, (2) line irrigation canals to limit seepage losses, (3) increase surface-water diversions through unlined canals for aquifer recharge, (4) convert from surface-water to ground-water resources to supply water for irrigation, and (5) reduce tree density in forested headwater catchments, and (6) natural flow. Daily streamflow from October 1, 1959, to September 30, 2001 (water years 19602001) was simulated. Lining irrigation canals (alternative 2) increased flows in the Chewuch, Twisp, and the Methow (upstream and at Twisp) Rivers during September because of lower diversion rates, but not in the Methow River near Pateros. Increasing diversions for aquifer recharge (alternative 3) increased streamflow from September into January, but reduced streamflow earlier in the summer. Conversion of surface-water diversions to ground-water wells (alternative 4) resulted in the largest increase in September streamflow of any alternative, but also marginally lower January flows (at most -8 percent in the 90-percent exceedence value). Forest-cover reduction (alternative 5) produced large increases in streamflow during high-flow periods in May and June and earlier onset of high flows and small increases in January streamflows. September streamflows were largely unaffected by alternative 5. Natural streamflow (alternative 6) was higher in September and lower in January than the baseline alternative.


Description of Water-Management Alternatives
Simulations of Water-Management Alternatives
Summary and Conclusions
References Cited

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Revision History

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Send questions or comments about this report to the author, C. P. Konrad, (253) 428-3600 ext. 2634.

For more information about USGS activities in Washington, visit the USGS Washington District home page.

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