In 2012, the U.S. and Mexico signed the historic Minute 319 Agreement to improve binational water management of the Colorado River system. The agreement allowed for a one-time “pulse flow” release of 105,392 acre-feet (130 million cubic meters) of water from the Morelos Dam on the U.S. (Arizona)-Mexico border in March of 2014 to restore the dry downstream stretch of the Colorado River Delta. Bureau of Reclamation scientists are tracking the immediate and long-term effects of the flood pulse on the delta ecosystem.
The Bureau of Reclamation operates more than 300 reservoirs and 8,000 miles of water delivery canals throughout the West. Developing reservoir operation protocols and water accounting strategies requires estimates of open water evaporation, which constitutes a substantial water demand. Historically, evaporation from lakes and reservoirs has been estimated using pan evaporation information.
The Colorado River is the principal source of water for irrigation and domestic use in Arizona, southern California, and southern Nevada.
The locations of existing and proposed water pipelines in multi-county tribal water systems in North and South Dakota are being mapped and documented in pipeline mapbooks. The 2014 National Agricultural Image Program (NAIP) Orthoimagery was used as the basis for pipeline mapbooks, which can include over 2,000 pages. The pipeline data have been collected using field Global Positioning Systems (from Bartlett & West Engineering for this mapbook). Pipelines are depicted as existing Main and Secondary sections and planned Design pipelines.
The Bureau of Reclamation administers the Operating Criteria and Procedures (OCAP) for the Newlands Reclamation Project, which monitors irrigation status of approximately 61,000 acres in Nevada.
The Great Plains Reclamation Dakotas Area Office (DKAO) used remote sensing imagery in a Geographic Information Systems (GIS) environment to calculate pump requirements for an irrigation system. Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar (IFSAR) point cloud data were used to generate an elevation surface with better than 2-m root mean square error. After an ArcGIS shapefile of irrigation fields was added to the map, the Path/Profile tool in the Global Mapper software package was used to show the elevation profile of a new center-pivot irrigation system.
Changes in sandbar geometry were mapped using historcal and recent aerial imagery to quantify the extent of sandbar encroachment into the water intake structure of the pumping plant for the Buford-Trenton Irrigation District, Williams County, North Dakota. Nine sets of aerial imagery spanning over 60 years and rectified plats from the original 1893 U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) data were used to study changes in the Missouri River extent and course.
Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar (IFSAR) point cloud data were used to create a new contour map to assist with a facilities engineering project near a recreation area. Previous topographic sources provided insufficient detail: a 1979 topographic-contour map had 20-foot (6.1-m) contour intervals, and the derived digital elevation model (DEM) product would produce only 10-m accuracy.
One problem with using divers or remotely operated vehicles to perform underwater inspections of hydraulic structures is that frequently-encountered conditions of poor visibility increase the inspection time and reduce the inspection quality. Commercially available scanning sonar systems can be used to overcome this limitation because sonar works in even highly turbid water to produce detailed images of underwater infrastructure. Scanning sonar can also collect survey-grade bathymetry and three-dimensional (3D) point clouds of underwater features.
Sound navigation and ranging (sonar) data were coupled with historical topographic data to map the extent and volume of silt collected behind the Heart Butte Dam reservoir in southwestern North Dakota. An elevation raster of the land surface submerged beneath the dam was created using sonar with 1–foot (0.3-m) depth intervals collected by the North Dakota Game & Fish Department. To depict the landscape before the dam was created, pre-dam contour and river lines were derived from a historical topographic map obtained from the U.S.