Category Archives: Water Supply

Groundwater Use and Depletion in Major Food-Producing Areas are Focus of “60 Minutes” Story in November 2014

On November 16, 2014, CBS News’ “60 Minutes” program aired “Depleting the Water,” a 13 min./55 sec. segment on groundwater use and depletion in major agricultural areas around the world, including California.  The segment highlights the use of an experimental NASA program called GRACE (Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment), which uses two satellites to detect changes in gravitational pull on the satellites resulting from groundwater-level changes on earth.  The segment’s video, transcript, and additional information are available online at http://www.cbsnews.com/news/depleting-the-water/.

Precipitation in Southeast U.S. for the 7-day Period Ending November 18, 2014, Plus a Mid-month Virginia Drought Assessment

Below are images showing precipitation in the southeastern United States over the seven-day period ending November 18, 2014; and the status of drought indicators in Virginia as of November 19, 2014.  The Virginia Water Resources Research Center thanks the agencies mentioned below for providing precipitation and stream-flow information and images.  For monthly reviews of precipitation, stream flow, and drought, please see the News Grouper posts available at this link: http://vawatercentralnewsgrouper.wordpress.com/?s=Monthly+Water+Status.  For more information on current and historical surface-water and groundwater conditions in Virginia, please see the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Virginia Science Center’s Web site, http://va.water.usgs.gov/.

Precipitation

The following maps show southeastern U.S. precipitation amounts over the past seven days (top map), and the percent of normal precipitation for the given location at this time of year (bottom map).   The maps were accessed on 11/19/14 from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Southeast Regional Climate Center, located at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill; online at http://www.sercc.com/climateinfo/precip_maps.  As of 11/19/14, these data are provisional (needing to be verified for accuracy and subject to possible revision).

Precip Nov18Precipperc Nov18

For another precipitation-information source: The National Weather Service’s Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service, http://water.weather.gov/precip/, provides maps showing precipitation nationwide or by state for specific days, months, or years.  The site also has the capability to show county boundaries.  As an example, shown below is the map of one-day precipitation ending at 7 a.m. EST on November 19, 2014.  (Please note that UTC, the time shown on the map below, is five hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time and four hours ahead of Eastern Daylight Time.)

Precip national Nov19 

Drought Update

The Virginia Drought Monitoring Task Force, a collaboration of state and federal agencies, issued its most recent Drought Status Report on November 17, 2014.  The report typically includes information from some or all of the following agencies: University of Virginia Climatology Office, U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), and the Virginia departments of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Health, and Environmental Quality.  Task Force reports and other current drought-status information are available online at http://www.deq.virginia.gov/Programs/Water/WaterSupplyWaterQuantity/Drought.aspx.

The Drought Monitoring Task Force also produces a daily map rating groundwater levels (GW), precipitation deficits (Prcp), reservoir storage (Res), and stream flow (Flow) conditions across the Commonwealth. In each area, a color code indicates “normal,” “watch,” “warning,” or “emergency conditions.”  The November 19, 2014, map is shown below.  The current map for any given day, and more information on the ratings, are available the Task Force Web site listed above.

Drought Map VA Nov 19

Virginia Precipitation and Stream Flow for the 7-day Period Ending November 11, 2014

Below are images showing precipitation in the southeastern United States and stream flow in Virginia over the seven-day period ending November 11, 2014. The Virginia Water Resources Research Center thanks the agencies mentioned below for providing precipitation and stream-flow information and images. For monthly reviews of precipitation, stream flow, and drought, please see the News Grouper posts available at this link: http://vawatercentralnewsgrouper.wordpress.com/?s=Monthly+Water+Status.

Precipitation

The following maps show southeastern U.S. precipitation amounts over the past seven days (top map), and the percent of normal precipitation for the given location at this time of year (bottom map).  The maps were accessed on 11/12/14 from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Southeast Regional Climate Center, located at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill; online at http://www.sercc.com/climateinfo/precip_maps. As of 11/12/14, these data are provisional (needing to be verified for accuracy and subject to possible revision).

Precip Nov 11Precip perc Nov 11

 

For another precipitation-information source: The National Weather Service’s Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service, http://water.weather.gov/precip/, provides maps showing precipitation nationwide or by state for specific days, months, or years.  The site also has the capability to show county boundaries.  As an example, shown below is the map of one-day precipitation ending at 7 a.m. EST on November 12, 2014.  (Note that UTC is five hours ahead of EST, four hours ahead of EDT.)

Precip map Nov 12

 

Stream Flow

Average Virginia stream flow over week ending November 11, 2014, is indicated in the map below, from the U.S. Geological Survey WaterWatch for Virginia (online at http://waterwatch.usgs.gov/classic.php?m=pa07d&r=va&w=mv01d%2Cmap, accessed 11/12/14).   The map compares the previous week’s average stream flows at about 140 stream-gaging stations (in Virginia and just beyond the state border) to the normal flow levels for that week over the historical record for each gaging station.  The color codes/percentile classes used by USGS to compared flows to historical records for the month are as follows (higher the percentile and the “bluer” the color, the higher the flow):

KEEP ON DESK _ Stream Flow ChartStreams Nov 11

 

 

 

Virginia Water Status Report as of the End of October 2014, Plus a Look at Drought Nationally

Here is the Virginia Water Central News Grouper’s monthly water-status report, as of the end of October 2014. The Virginia Water Resources Research Center thanks the agencies mentioned below for providing the data and maps used in this post.

First, in precipitation: Here are National Weather Service (NWS) preliminary precipitation totals for October 2014 at 11 Virginia or near-Virginia locations, with the amount above (+) or below (-) normal for this month of the year historically in parentheses.  All values are in inches, rounded to the nearest 0.1 inch from NWS values.

Location Observed Precipitation(inches) Above (+) or Below (-) Normal (inches)
Blacksburg 4.4 +1.6
Bluefield (Va.-W.Va. state line) 5.4 +2.9
Bristol (Tri-Cities Airport in Tenn., about 20 miles from Bristol, Va.-Tenn.) 6.2* +2.1
Charlottesville 3.7 +0.6
Danville 4.1 +0.6
Dulles Airport (Loudoun County) 3.0 -0.2
Lynchburg 3.6 +0.5
Norfolk 1.6 -1.9
Richmond 2.6 -0.4
Roanoke 3.6 +0.7
Wallops Island (Accomack County) 1.3 -1.9

*Record high for month at this location.

Precipitation sources: Climate pages of the following National Weather Service Forecast Offices:
Blacksburg, Va. (http://www.nws.noaa.gov/climate/index.php?wfo=rnk)
Morristown, Tenn. (http://www.weather.gov/climate/index.php?wfo=mrx
Baltimore-Washington (http://www.nws.noaa.gov/climate/index.php?wfo=lwx); and
Wakefield, Va. (http://www.nws.noaa.gov/climate/index.php?wfo=akq).

The normal values used by the National Weather Service (NWS) in these provisional reports are based on the 1981-2010 period. The National Climatic Data Center released these normal values in July 2011. For information on the normal values, see the National Climatic Data Center Web page at http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/oa/climate/normals/usnormals.html.

For graphs of precipitation, visit the Southeast Regional Climate Center (Chapel Hill, N.C) at http://www.sercc.com/climateinfo/precip_maps, where you can find maps of total precipitation and percent of normal precipitation for the past 7, 30, 60, or 90 days; or the NWS’ Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service at http://water.weather.gov/precip/ for a map of precipitation nationwide or by state, with capability to show county boundaries, and archives available for specific days, months, or years. Shown below are the Southeast Regional Climate Center’s provisional (still needing verification) maps of the percent-of-normal precipitation for the previous 30 days, 60 days, and 90 days, through October 31, 2014.
30 precip perc60 precip prec90 precip perc

 

Next, in stream flow: According to the U.S. Geological Survey WaterWatch for Virginia, average stream flow values for the October 2014 at 149 stream gages in Virginia and just beyond the state border were in the normal range at about 71 percent of gages; below normal at about 3 percent; above normal at about 15 percent; and much above normal at about 11 percent.  The color-coded, flow-percentile map for this period is shown below.  The color codes/percentile classes used by USGS to compared flows to historical records for the month are as follows:
KEEP ON DESK _ Stream Flow ChartStreams October 2014

 

Finally, our drought watch:
The weekly National Drought Monitor map from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (http://droughtmonitor.unl.edu/) on October 28, 2014, categorized about 23 percent of Virginia as being abnormally dry.  The area covered an arc from the central Shenandoah Valley across the Blue Ridge to the tidal Potomac basin and most of the non-tidal Rappahannock and York basins; plus two areas in Southside: Charlotte County and part of Halifax County, and an area in four counties around Danville and Martinsville.

The Drought Monitor notes that it “focuses on broad-scale conditions [and] local conditions may vary.” The Drought Monitor categories are as follows:
D0 = abnormally dry;
D1 = moderate drought;
D2 = severe drought;
D3 = extreme drought;
D4 = exceptional drought.

For comparison, here are Virginia ratings from previous Drought Monitors from about one month, two months, three months, and one year ago:
9/30/14 – 48 percent abnormally dry;
9/2/14 – 11 percent abnormally dry;
7/29/14 – 27 percent abnormally dry;
10/29/13 – 5 percent abnormally dry.

The Virginia Drought Monitoring Task Force, a collaboration of state and federal agencies, issued its most recent Drought Status Report on October 10, 2014.  A link to the report, along with other current drought-status information, is available online at http://www.deq.virginia.gov/Programs/Water/WaterSupplyWaterQuantity/Drought.aspx.  The Task Force’s reports typically include information from some or all of the following agencies: University of Virginia Climatology Office, U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), and the Virginia departments of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Health, and Environmental Quality.  The Drought Monitoring Task Force also produces a daily map rating groundwater levels (GW), precipitation deficits (Prcp), reservoir storage (Res), and stream flow (Flow) conditions across the Commonwealth.  In each area, a color code indicates “normal,” “watch,” “warning,” or “emergency conditions.” The November 3, 2014, map is shown below.  The current map and more information on the ratings are available the Task Force Web site listed above.

Va Drought Nov 3

 

Looking at drought beyond Virginia: The October 28 U.S. Drought Monitor rated 36.4 percent of the United States (including all or parts of 43 states) as being abnormally dry or worse, and it rated 15.1 percent of the country (including all or parts of 13 states), as being in severe drought or worse (categories D2, D3, and D4). (On August 7, 2012, 38.5 percent of the country was in the three worst categories; that was the highest percentage in these categories reported by the Drought Monitor since it began in 2000.)

The nationwide percentages for abnormally dry or worse (D0-D4) and severe or worse (D2-D4) in the previous three months and one year ago were as follows:
9/30/14 – 40.1 percent abnormally dry or worse; 15.6 percent severe drought or worse;
9/2/14 – 39.2 percent abnormally dry or worse; 17.5 percent severe drought or worse;
7/29/14 – 39.8 percent abnormally dry or worse; 19.0 percent severe drought or worse;
10/29/13 – 52.0 percent abnormally dry or worse; 15.1 percent severe drought or worse.

In the following four states, over 50 percent of the state was categorized by the October 28 report as being in severe-or-worse drought:

California – 95% (with 82% in extreme or exceptional drought; California was rated as having 100 percent severe-or-worse drought from May 13—July 29, 2014);
Nevada – 70% (with 48% in extreme or exceptional drought);
Oklahoma – 56% (with 23% in extreme or exceptional drought);
Oregon – 55% (with 35% in extreme drought).

For previous News Grouper monthly water status reports during the past 12 months, please click these links:
September 2014
August 2014
July 2014
June 2014
May 2014
April 2014
March 2014
February 2014
January 2014
December 2013
November 2013
October 2013

Virginia Precipitation and Stream Flow for the 7-day Period Ending October 28, 2014

Below are images showing precipitation in the southeastern United States and stream flow in Virginia over the seven-day period ending October 28, 2014. The Virginia Water Resources Research Center thanks the agencies mentioned below for providing precipitation and stream-flow information and images. For monthly reviews of precipitation, stream flow, and drought, please see the News Grouper posts available at this link: http://vawatercentralnewsgrouper.wordpress.com/?s=Monthly+Water+Status.

Precipitation

The following maps show southeastern U.S. precipitation amounts over the past seven days (top map), and the percent of normal precipitation for the given location at this time of year (bottom map).  The maps were accessed on 10/29/14 from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Southeast Regional Climate Center, located at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill; online at http://www.sercc.com/climateinfo/precip_maps. As of 10/29/14, these data are provisional (needing to be verified for accuracy and subject to possible revision).

precip Oct 28

precip perc Oct 28

For another precipitation-information source: The National Weather Service’s Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service, http://water.weather.gov/precip/, provides maps showing precipitation nationwide or by state for specific days, months, or years. The site also has the capability to show county boundaries. As an example, shown below is the map of one-day precipitation ending at 8 a.m. EDT on October 29, 2014.
NHPC rainfall map oct 29

 

Stream Flow

Average Virginia stream flow over week ending October 28, 2014, is indicated in the map below, from the U.S. Geological Survey WaterWatch for Virginia (online at http://waterwatch.usgs.gov/classic.php?m=pa07d&r=va&w=mv01d%2Cmap, accessed 10/29/14). The map compares the previous week’s average stream flows at about 140 stream-gaging stations (in Virginia and just beyond the state border) to the normal flow levels for that week over the historical record for each gaging station. The color codes/percentile classes used by USGS to compared flows to historical records for the month are as follows:
KEEP ON DESK _ Stream Flow Chart

streams Oct 28

River Basin Coordination Case Studies Examined in September 2014 Issue of Water Resources Impact, from the American Water Resources Association

The September 2014 issue of Water Resources Impact, published by the American Water Resources Association (AWRA, headquartered in Middleburg, Va.), presents case studies of regional coordination and management of water supply, water quality, flood management, watershed management, and other issues in six major river basins: the Delaware, Ohio, Tennessee, Missouri, Colorado, and Columbia.  (Virginia in part of the basins of the Ohio and Tennessee rivers.)  The publication is available online at http://www.awra.org/impact/; or contact AWRA at P.O. Box 1626, Middleburg, VA 20118-8390; (540) 687-8390; info@awra.org.

River basin coordination cover

Cover of the September 2014 issue of Water Resources Impact, American Water Resources Association; accessed online at http://www.awra.org/impact/, 10/24/14.

Water Infrastructure was Focus of Mid-Atlantic Regional Water Conference, September 24-25, 2014, in Shepherdstown, West Va.

On September 24-25, 2014, at the National Conservation Training Center in Shepherdstown, West Virginia, the West Virginia Water Research Institute hosted the 2014 Mid-Atlantic Regional Water Conference. The conference theme was “The Future of Mid-Atlantic Water Infrastructure: Challenges and Solutions.”  The conference was a joint effort of the National Institutes for Water Resources (NIWR) and its mid-Atlantic member institutes in Delaware, the District of Columbia, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia (the Virginia Water Resources Research Center, which produces this blog), and West Virginia.  Conference presentations are available online at http://www.midatlanticwc.com/event-info/conference-agenda/; to view the abstracts and presentations, click on a given talk’s title within the conference agenda table.  For questions or more information about the conference, contact Glenn Waldron, West Virginia Water Research Institute/West Virginia University, (304) 293-7085, e-mail: Glenn.Waldron@mail.wvu.edu.

Potomac River and Pawpaw at Nat Cons Tr Ctr Shepherdstown Sep25 2014The Potomac River, viewed September 25, 2014, from the grounds of the National Conservation Training Center in Shepherdstown, West Virginia.