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Simulation of Conservative-Constituent Transport in the Red River of the North Basin, North Dakota and Minnesota, 2003-04

Scientific Investigations Report 2005-5273

 

By Rochelle A. Nustad and Jerad D. Bales

 

In cooperation with the Bureau of Reclamation

 


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Abstract

Population growth along with possible future droughts in the Red River of the North (Red River) Basin will create an increasing need for reliable water supplies. Therefore, as a result of the Dakota Water Resources Act of 2000, the Bureau of Reclamation identified eight water-supply alternatives (including a no-action alternative) to meet future water needs in the basin. Because of concerns about the possible effects of the alternatives on water quality in the Red River and the Sheyenne River and in Lake Winnipeg, Manitoba, the Bureau of Reclamation needs to prepare an environmental impact statement that describes the specific environmental effects of each alternative. To provide information for the environmental impact statement, the U.S. Geological Survey, in cooperation with the Bureau of Reclamation, conducted a study to develop and apply a water-quality model, hereinafter referred to as the Red River water-quality model, to part of the Red River and the Sheyenne River to simulate conservative-constituent transport in the Red River Basin. The Red River water-quality model is a one-dimensional, steady-state flow and transport model for selected constituents in the Red River and the Sheyenne River. The model simulates the flow and transport of total dissolved solids, sulfate, and chloride during steady-state conditions. The physical model domain includes the Red River from the confluence of the Bois de Sioux and Otter Tail Rivers to the Red River at Emerson, Manitoba, and the Sheyenne River from above Harvey, N. Dak., to the confluence with the Red River.

 

The Red River water-quality model was calibrated and tested using data collected at 34 sites from September 15 through 16, 2003, and from May 10 through 13, 2004. Water-quality samples were collected during low, steady-flow conditions from September 15 through 16, 2003, and during medium, unsteady-flow conditions from May 10 through 13, 2004. The simulated total dissolved-solids, sulfate, and chloride concentrations generally were within 5 percent of the measured concentrations.

 

The Red River water-quality model was used to simulate conservative-constituent transport in the Red River and the Sheyenne River for the eight water-supply alternatives identified by the Bureau of Reclamation. For the first set of eight simulations, September 2003 streamflows were used with projected 2050 return flows and withdrawals. For the second set of eight simulations, the September 2003 streamflows were reduced by 25 percent. The simulated concentrations for three of the alternatives generally were lower than for the no-action alternative. Of those alternatives, one would result in a decrease in concentrations for two constituents, one would result in a decrease in concentrations for all three constituents, and one would result in a decrease in concentrations for one constituent and an increase in concentrations for another constituent. For four of the alternatives, the differences between the mean simulated concentrations were less than calibration errors, indicating the effects of those alternatives on water quality in the rivers is uncertain. The effects of reduced streamflow on simulated total dissolved-solids, sulfate, and chloride concentrations were greatest for alternative 2. Reduced streamflow probably has an effect on simulated total dissolved-solids concentrations for alternatives 2, 3, 5, and 7 and on simulated sulfate concentrations for alternatives 2 and 5. Except for alternative 2, reduced streamflow had little effect on simulated chloride concentrations.

 

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Table of Contents

Abstract

Introduction

Purpose and Scope

Study Area

Methods

Data-Collection Network

Water-Quality Sample Collection and Analysis

Withdrawal and Return-Flow Data

Channel-Geometry Data

Description of HEC-5 and HEC-5Q Models

Streamflow and Water-Quality Conditions

Simulation of Conservative-Constituent Transport

Model Implementation

Computational Grid

Streamflow and Water-Quality Boundary Conditions

Model Calibration

Streamflow

Water Quality

Model Performance Testing

Model Applications

Simulations with September 2003 Streamflows

Total Dissolved Solids

Sulfate

Chloride

Uncertainty of Simulation Results

Simulations with Reduced Streamflows

Model Limitations

Summary

References

 

Figure

  1. Map showing locations of sites used in study.
  2. Graph showing streamflows and flow duration curves for selected sites.
  3. Graphs showing streamflows for selected sites for August 15 through October 31, 2003, and April 15 through June 30, 2004
  4. Graphs showing measured total dissolved-solids concentrations for September 2003 and May 2004 sampling periods.
  5. Graphs showing measured calcium, magnesium, sodium, bicarbonate, carbonate, sulfate, and chloride concentrations for selected sites for September 2003 and May 2004 sampling periods.
  6. Graphs showing measured nitrite plus nitrate as nitrogen, ammonia as nitrogen, and organic nitrogen concentrations for selected sites for September 2003 and May 2004 sampling periods.
  7. Graph showing measured total phosphorus concentrations for selected sites for September 2003 and May 2004 sampling periods.
  8. Diagram showing schematic of Red River water-quality model.
  9. Graphs showing measured and simulated streamflows for selected Red River water-quality model control points for September 15, 2003.
  10. Graphs showing measured and simulated total dissolved-solids concentrations for Red River water-quality model calibration points for September 15, 2003.
  11. Graphs showing measured and simulated sulfate concentrations for Red River water-quality model calibration points for September 15, 2003.
  12. Graphs showing measured and simulated chloride concentrations for Red River water-quality model calibration points for September 15, 2003.
  13. Graphs showing measured and simulated streamflows for selected Red River water-quality model control points for May 10, 2004.
  14. Graphs showing measured and simulated total dissolved-solids concentrations for Red River water-quality model calibration points for May 10, 2004.
  15. Graphs showing measured and simulated sulfate concentrations for Red River water-quality model calibration points for May 10, 2004.
  16. Graphs showing measured and simulated chloride concentrations for Red River water-quality model calibration points for May 10, 2004.
  17. Graphs showing simulated streamflows for water-supply alternatives for the Red River of the North and the Sheyenne River for September 15, 2003.
  18. Graphs showing simulated total dissolved-solids concentrations for water-supply alternatives for the Red River of the North and the Sheyenne River for September 15, 2003.
  19. Graphs showing simulated sulfate concentrations for water-supply alternatives for the Red River of the North and the Sheyenne River for September 15, 2003.
  20. Graphs showing simulated chloride concentrations for water-supply alternatives for the Red River of the North and the Sheyenne River for September 15, 2003.

Tables

  1. Data-collection network.
  2. Water-quality properties and constituents for which samples were analyzed.
  3. Withdrawals from and return flows to the Red River of the North at Fargo, North Dakota, Grand Forks, North Dakota, and Moorhead, Minnesota, during September 2003 and May 2004.
  4. Mean daily total nitrogen and total phosphorus loads for September 2003 and May 2004 sampling periods and for 1992-95 and 1998-99.
  5. Streamflow boundary conditions for September 2003 sampling period.
  6. Streamflow boundary conditions for May 2004 sampling period.
  7. Water-quality boundary conditions for September 2003 and May 2004 sampling periods.
  8. Model calibration points used for simulation of conservative-constituent transport in the Red River of the North Basin.
  9. Mean calibration errors and maximum and minimum absolute differences between measured (September 2003) and simulated total dissolved-solids, sulfate, and chloride concentrations.
  10. Description of water-supply alternatives for Red River Valley Water Supply Project.
  11. Projected return flows, imported flows, and withdrawals and estimated total dissolved-solids, sulfate, and chloride concentrations for water-supply alternatives.
  12. Mean simulated concentrations for water-supply alternatives and difference between concentration for alternative and concentration for alternative 1 (the no-action alternative).
  13. Reduced streamflows used in Red River water-quality model.
  14. Absolute mean differences and maximum and minimum absolute differences between total dissolved-solids concentrations simulated with September 2003 streamflows and those simulated with reduced streamflows.
  15. Absolute mean differences and maximum and minimum absolute differences between sulfate concentrations simulated with September 2003 streamflows and those simulated with reduced streamflows.
  16. Absolute mean differences and maximum and minimum absolute differences between chloride concentrations simulated with September 2003 streamflows and those simulated with reduced streamflows.

 

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