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Thank you to everyone who attended the 11th Annual Salt Lake County Watershed Symposium! This free two-day conference encourages a comprehensive review of the current state of our watershed while creating learning opportunities for a diverse array of stakeholders. Sessions covered a broad range of topics on water quality and watershed issues with local, regional, and national relevance. Hosted by Salt Lake County Watershed Planning & Restoration.

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Wednesday, November 15 • 11:20am - 11:50am
Estimation of Future Sediment Load in the Jordan River

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Estimation of Future Sediment Load in the Jordan River

Climate change and urbanization will modify hydrological processes in mountainous watersheds. Associated increases in erosion and acceleration of sediment transport will have direct impacts on water treatment processes, reservoir management, and the life cycle of aquatic species.

Full Abstract:
Sediment load from a watershed impacts soil carbon dynamics, life of the aquatic systems, water treatment processes, and reservoir planning and management. Multiple factors including climate, local biophysical environment, topography, land use, and land management practice have direct and indirect effects on the sedimentation-loading rate. This study investigates how erosion and acceleration of sediment transport in a mountainous watershed respond to land use change and increased peak streamflow due to a higher intensity of precipitation and escalated snowmelt. Results are presented for future land use change and climate change in the Jordan River watershed, including projected changes in sediment loads in the Jordan River for the decades centered on 2040 and 2090. The Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) regional climate model was used to dynamically downscale future climate variables to 4-km horizontal resolution at hourly intervals under the Representative Concentration Pathway (RCP) 6.0 greenhouse gas emission scenario for 2090s, and additional climate forcing scenarios were obtained from statistical downscaling. Future land use was modeled using a spatial interaction model (business-as-usual growth) and a “regional vision” normative growth scenario with broad stakeholder currency (compact-growth). The runoff and water quality impact of the climate and land-use change scenarios were simulated using the HSPF model (Hydrological Simulation Program-FORTRAN). The results suggest that future precipitation in the watershed will increase ~20-30%, temperature will increase 1.5-6.0⁰C (depending on emission scenario), and snowfall and snowpack will decline by 25 to 50%. Impervious areas will grow by 19% and 3% in the business-as-usual and compact growth scenarios, respectively. The preliminary model results show that future annual sediment load will increase ~25-30% by 2040s and ~35% by 2090s. The results suggest that climate change will be the dominant driver, responsible for increasing sediment load by ~20-25% over the 2000 baseline; land use change is less significant, accounting for a ~5% increase. The presentation will also cover the estimated sediment loads considering multiple future changes scenarios (i.e. land use change alone, climate change alone, etc.). The learning objectives from this presentations will be to: (i) understand sedimentation building and wash off processes in a watershed, (ii) become informed on changes in future climate modeling and land use in Jordan basin, particularly with the HSPF model, and (iii) understand the impact of climate change and land use change on hydrological process and resulting indirect impact on the sedimentation processes in Jordan River. Keywords: climate change, land use change, hydrological modeling, sediment load, water quality


Krishna Khatri

Utah Division of Water Resources
Krishna is working for the Utah Division of Water Resources. He is also associated (adjunct Asst. Professor) with the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Utah. Krishna holds a PhD degree in Water Resources Engineering, MSc in Water Resources Engineering... Read More →

Wednesday November 15, 2017 11:20am - 11:50am MST
Lower Level: Ballroom B