Date of Final Oral Examination (Defense)
Type of Culminating Activity
Master of Science in Civil Engineering
Future climate change poses a major conceptual challenge to the availability of water resources due to the uncertainty involved with changes to the hydrologic cycle. Over the past decades, observed warming temperatures across the Western United Sates have shown significant impacts on river basin scale hydrology. This research uses physically based modeling tools to assess the hydrologic impacts of climate change in the Snake River Basin. Physically based hydrologic modeling studies of future climate do not typically take into account interactions between groundwater and surface water. To account for these interactions, the Variable Infiltration Capacity model is coupled with the United States Geologic Survey MODFLOW model over the Eastern Snake Plain Aquifer to generate natural streamflow. The results showed that under climate change projections peak streamflow will decrease by 12.5%; the peak streamflow will shift 7-11 days earlier; in the late summer months, baseflow is expected to decrease by 5%; and in the winter months, flows are expected to increase by 25%. This will cause water users to shift their water management strategies from relying on natural flow rights to using storage rights in the late summer months of the irrigation season. The impact of these findings suggests that water users with junior rights might be curtailed because of the hydrologic changes in future climate.
Hildreth, John Whitney, "An Investigation into the Water Budget and the Management of the Snake River System" (2013). Boise State University Theses and Dissertations. 761.