Summary & Purpose

Humans have significantly altered the redistribution of water in intensively managed hydrologic systems, shifting the spatiotemporal patterns of surface water. Evaluating water availability requires integration of hydrologic processes and associated human influences. In this study, we summarize the development and evaluation of an extensible hydrologic model that explicitly integrates water rights to spatially distribute irrigation waters in a semi-arid agricultural region in the western US, using the Envision integrated modeling platform. The model captures both human and biophysical systems, particularly the diversion of water from the Boise River, which is the main water source that supports irrigated agriculture in this region. In agricultural areas, water demand is estimated as a function of crop type and local environmental conditions. Surface water to meet crop demand is diverted from the stream reaches, constrained by the amount of water available in the stream, the water rights appropriated amount, and the priority dates associated with particular places of use. Results, measured by flow rates at gaged stream and canal locations within the study area, suggest that the impacts of irrigation activities on the magnitude and timing of flows through this intensively managed system are well captured. The multi-year averaged diverted water from the Boise River matches observations well, reflecting the appropriation of water according to the water rights database. Because of the spatially explicit implementation of surface water diversion, the model can help diagnose places and times where water resources are likely insufficient.

Date of Publication or Submission



Funding Citation

This publication was made possible by the National Science Foundation (NSF) Idaho Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR) Program under award number IIA-1301792. Coauthor Kellie B. Vache was supported by NSF EAR-1011912.

Single Dataset or Series?

Single Dataset

Data Format

*.shp, *.csv, *.zip

Data Attributes

Zip file contains seven GIS shape files representing data from 2006-2013, three comma-separated-value files with water discharge data from three locations, and one comma-separated-value file with water master data. Contact author for attribute definitions.

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Data will be provided to all who agree to appropriately acknowledge the National Science Foundation (NSF), Idaho EPSCoR and the individual investigators responsible for the data set. By downloading these data and using them to produce further analysis and/or products, users agree to appropriately acknowledge the National Science Foundation (NSF), Idaho EPSCoR and the individual investigators responsible for the data set. Use constraints: Acceptable uses of data provided by Idaho EPSCoR include any academic, research, educational, governmental, recreational, or other not-for-profit activities. Any use of data provided by the Idaho EPSCoR must acknowledge Idaho EPSCoR and the funding source(s) that contributed to the collection of the data. Users are expected to inform the Idaho EPSCoR Office and the PI(s) responsible for the data of any work or publications based on data provided.


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