CONSERVATION ECONOMICS OF HAWAII'S SYSTEM OF WATER RIGHTS
Abstract: Institutional innovations are key to improving water
resources conservation and management in Hawaii. Ambiguities in
water rights are being tested in the courts and attention has
been directed to the original common property concept of Hawaii.
Ownership, usership and transfer are basic tenure concepts which
need clarification for furthering the reasonable beneficial use
principle. This in turn can have far-reaching implications for
coordinating state water policy through local water users
The problems of conserving and allocating scarce water resources
among competing users and uses in Hawaii have been compounded by legal
and economic uncertainties that constrain decision-making at the policy,
institutional and operating levels. The physical and economic effects
of these uncertainties depend, in large part, on the institutional al-
ternatives that can provide both security for investments in water re-
source development and also flexibility for the reallocation of water to
alternative uses over time. When water resources take on the institu-
tional characteristics of property, economic values can be capitalized
into the legal rights to use and the opportunity for economic study
within the framework of conservation economics (Ciriacy-Wantrup, 1968)
In this framework, the nonrenewable (stock) and renewable (flow)
aspects of water resources are clearly distinguished. Conservation and
its opposite, depletion, are relative concepts which concern changes in
the timing of use. When use rates are redistributed toward the future,
we have conservation and when toward the present, we have depletion.
The choice between these necessarily involves the economics of allocat-
ing the changes in uses among competing users. Questions of efficiency
in use and equity among users are simultaneously addressed within a
hierarchy of decision systems. In this hierarchical structure, policy
decisions establish goals and provide instituitonal rules which control
decision-making at the operating levels where inputs and outputs are
directly involved. In each state the system of water rights is the
primary property institution around which secondary institutions or the
*Associate Professor, Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics,
and Economist, Water Resources Research Center, University of Hawaii.
500 IRRIGATION AND DRAINAGE AND WATER RESOURCES
direct (e.g., zoning and regulations) and indirect (e.g., leasing, tax-
ing and credit) tools of conservation develop.
HAWAII'S "UNIQUE" SYSTEM OF WATER RIGHTS
Hawaii's system of water rights has long been labeled "unique" in
the sense that it was attributed to have evolved from ancient customs
and traditions and, as such, did not clearly fit within the riparian-
appropriation scheme of other U.S. mainland states (Hutchins, 1946).2
Until recently, an important result of this "unique" attribute has been
to maintain a strong private property orientation for water resources
and a relatively undeveloped governmental framework for controlling
decisions at the operating level.
In fact, the "unique" aspects stem more from the ambiguous manner
in which water rights concepts were applied in the early development
of Hawaii's water economy. To insure security for private investments
in water development, water rights were interpreted in terms of "owner-
ship" of the resource itself. This, in turn, allowed for a virtually
unrestricted means of transfer and use by the "owners" and users.
However, maximum security and flexibility to private "owners"
did not necessarily assure responsiveness of the system to conservation
in the social interest. The practice of overuse (depletion) served the
dual purposes of gaining prescriptive rights against other "owners" and,
at the same time, protecting against the possibility of such losses.4
Claims were directed not only against other private "owners" but also
against the State.
The institutional response to this long-standing situation has just
begun as a result of an unexpected opinion of the Hawaii State Supreme
Court in 1973 on the McBryde v. Robinson case. The case which was
initiated in 1945 was an attempt by the private litigants to adjudicate
the waters of the Hanapepe River and its upper tributaries (on the
island of Kauai). The earlier roots of the case can be traced further
back to the early 1920s when the Gay and Robinson families were able to
successfully claim title to some of the upper watershed lands in a case
against the Territory (Gay & Robinson v. Territory of Hawaii).
The unexpected opinion of the Hawaii Supreme Court in the 1973
McBryde case was essentially to the effect that "ownership" of flowing
waters in natural water courses remained in the people of the State
for their common good and that the riparian doctrine applied to all
waters previously regarded as "surplus" of established ancient
appurtenant water rights. Further, the transfer of these water rights
by private parties was restricted according to the original principles
(essentially riparian) established for water in Hawaii.
The appeals process followed almost immediately and still contin-
ues. After appeals to the State and U.S. Supreme Courts failed, the
private litigants' complaints were heard by the Federal District Court.
In 1977 this Court reversed and enjoined the State from enforcing the
State Supreme Court's decision on grounds that both procedural and sub-
stantive due processes were denied. The State, in turn, has taken it-to
the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals where the matter now stands.5
CONSERVATION IN HAWAII
Whatever the final outcome of this time-consuming and costly judi-
cial process, which is expected to eventually reach the U.S. Supreme
Court, the more significant result is that over a century of legal tra-
dition in Hawaiian water law has been shaken. The ambiguities of
"ownership" and transfers are now being tested in the courts and atten-
tion has been directed to the common property concept as a primary pro-
perty institution for water resources in Hawaii.
THE EARLY HAWAIIAN COMMON PROPERTY SYSTEM--
ANCIENT APPURTENANT WATER RIGHTS
The original land reform, the Great Mahele of 1848, proclaimed by
King Kamehameha III with the assistance of his western advisors was the
most significant development in the conversion of ancient Hawaiian cus-
toms and traditions to the property system. Before the mahete (land
division), all the natural resources of the land and coastal waters were
subject to the sovereign control of the King. The concept of "owner-
ship" was not necessarily a part of the ancient system of control.
Uses of the resources, including water, were arranged through a
complex system of chiefs and headmen (konohikis). They administered for
the King the primary land units. These primary land units included the
ahupuaas, ilis of the ahupuaas and itis kuponos. Their structures were
closely related to the ecosystem and were essentially the original com-
mon property concept of Hawaii.
The ahupuaas were generally wedge-shaped lands running from the
mountains to the sea roughly in accord with natural watershed bounda-
ries. The resources of the ahupuaas were entrusted in the chiefs for
the benefit of the common people living within the ahupuaas. The ili
and ili kupono were more or less irregular-shaped lands either wholly
contained within or cutting across the ahupuaas. The resources of these
lands were for the benefit of members of or close to the royalty.
Water for irrigating the taro lands (kuleanas) or the commoners
was delivered through ditches (auwais) and allocated according to the
amounts of labor and other inputs contributed to the construction and
maintenance of the water systems. Waters used in this manner at the
time the mehele was implemented (through land commission awards and
royal patents) were considered appurtenant to the taro lands. Rights
to these waters are recognized today as ancient appurtenant water
Holders of these rights have first claim to the waters of streams
and are coequal among themselves. They were, however, subject to
prescription and only a fraction of the total surface waters developed
today fall into this category. Further, their use is no longer confined
to the original taro lands. As land titles were consolidated for sugar-
cane plantations, water companies were fo-med to gain control over these
rights. Today, it is not uncommon to find waters which are subject to
ancient appurtenant water rights, transported over great distances for
use outside the watersheds of origin.
IRRIGATION AND DRAINAGE AND WATER RESOURCES
SURPLUS WATERS: KONOHIKI AND RIPARIAN WATER RIGHTS
Early conflicts related to small uses required for domestic and
taro irrigation purposes. However, with the decline in demand for taro
and the growth of the rice industry, later to be supplanted by the sugar
industry, controversies arose over whether ancient taro watering rights
could be transferred to the irrigation of the new crops. The numbers
and stakes of the conflicts grew in proportion to the increase in impor-
tance of the sugarcane industry. Since more water than that covered by
the appurtenant rights to taro lands was required for the vastly in-
creased lands going into irrigated sugarcane, new claims to "surplus wa-
ters" were filed in the courts.
All surface waters in excess of quantities required to satisfy the
established ancient appurtenant rights, prescriptive rights and other
rights conveyed by deed were regarded as "surplus waters". Claims to
these waters fell into two main classes, (1) "surplus waters of normal
flow" subject to konohiki water rights and (2) "surplus waters of ab-
normal flow" or storm and freshet waters subject to the riparian doc-
The holder of the konohiki water right had the unqualified right
to use as he pleased, the "surplus water of normal flows" originating on
his lands. As successor to the konohiki, he could use such waters en-
tirely within or outside his land unit, since these waters were not ap-
purtenant to any particular portion of his land. This created some dif-
ficulties for downstream landowners in that their konohiki water rights
were junior to similar rights upstream. Security in konohiki water
rights tended to diminish successively with distance downstream and po-
tentially with greater severity than would have been the case under the
Only to the extent that "surplus storm and freshet waters" could be
operationally defined were the upstream landowners subject to the
riparian doctrine. Since by definition "abnormal flows" became avail-
able only in times of heavy storms that resulted in flash floods in the
narrow coastal plains, there was little physical certainty attached to
them. There was also legal uncertainty as to whether these rights
could be practicably quantified through adjudication.
Water development, nevertheless, proceeded on an ad hoc basis and
claims to prescriptive rights were commonly made to reduce legal uncer-
tainties. At the present time, over 540 MGD of stream waters have been
developed and is being conveyed through about 43 ditch systems through-
out the four major cane producing islands (Kauai, Oahu, Maui and Hawaii)
in the State. Only a small portion of this is being used under ancient
appurtenant water rights, and the sugar industry has estimated that
about $50 million has been invested in the development of water sources
and irrigation systems. Irrigation of sugarcane is largely dependent
upon transporting water through these ditch systems for use outside the
watershed of origin. Further, since the mahele the succession of
land ownership to the water producing forest reserves has fallen into
the hands of the State government and a few large private estates. A
mixed system of public and private leasing of water, therefore, has
developed over time, and control over the extensive physical irrigation
systems is currently under various joint interests. Public leasing of
water is through open auctions and all qualified bidders may participate
CONSERVATION IN HAWAII
But the allocation pattern of surface waters in the state is, for the
most part, controlled by the pattern of land ownership and the various
built-in interests in the existing irrigation systems that have come
about through formal and informal agreements, legislation, condemnation
of rights of ways and other easements in property.
In contrast to the long legal case history in settling water rights
conflicts as well as administrative experiences in the leasing of sur-
face waters, the allocation of rights to groundwater in Hawaii has been
the subject of only one State Supreme Court decision and one State
Ground Water Use Act. Important legal, tenure and physical uncertainties
still prevail in the decision system for groundwater use, and in prac-
tice decisions at the operating level are still independently made and
only partially coordinated through a voluntary user organization.
In the City Mill case of 1929, the Supreme Court of Hawaii estab-
lished the correlative rights doctrine for artestian groundwaters but,
in so doing, stated (without any dissent) that "...owners of the various
pieces or parcels of land under which there is an artesian basin are the
owners of the artesian waters of the basin. As such they have correla-
tive rights therein. Each is entitled to a reasonable use of waters
with due regard to the rights of his co-owners in the same waters."
The correlative rights doctrine for groundwaters is in essence a
direct common law descendent of the riparian doctrine for surface wa-
ters, and in view of the recent McBryde decision, which brings stronger
focus on the usufructory nature of water rights, the legal uncertainty
surrounding the City Mill decision on "ownership" of artesian waters
-takes of greater significance. The issue of "ownership" of groundwater,
in fact, has been a matter of concern in the State for a number of
years. In 1948, for instance, a Legislative Reference Bureau report,
prepared in response to bills introduced in both houses of the then Ter-
ritorial legislature in the previous year, suggested that legislation
declaring all groundwater to be the property of the Territory was desir-
able and probably constitutional. No such legislation was passed, how-
ever, and the matter of "ownership" along with several other related
questions on tenure have been left unanswered.
Groundwater today accounts for about 95 percent of the total water
supply of the island of Oahu where most of the State's population and
economic activities are centered, and represent about 40 percent of the
total water production of the State.
Because of the importance of groundwater and the increasing imbal-
ance between natural recharge and withdrawals in the Pearl Basin (near
Pearl Harbor) which reached alarming levels as early as the World War II
period, the State Legislature passed the Gound Water Use Act of 1959,
revised in 1961 (Ch. 177, HRS). The Act provides for emergency controls
over threatened groundwater bodies and essentially administrative adju-
dication or allocation of rights to broadly defined beneficial uses.
Regulation is through permits on the basis of prior appropriation within
"preserved" use classes (i.e., uses that are declared and certified for
maximum daily and annual drafts). Before such emergency controls can
IRRIGATION AND DRAINAGE AND WATER RESOURCES
be applied, the groundwater area must be designated "critical area" or
condition (177-5.5, HRS) for control via a public hearing process by
the State Board of Land and Natural Resources either on its own
initiative or at the petition of interested users. To date, however, no
such designation has been made, perhaps because of the long and costly
adjudication process that would probably be entailed and also the legal
uncertainty as regards ownership of water in the ground and a general
reluctance to provoke possible court action to remove this uncertainty.
Instead, a voluntary Ewa Groundwater Users Association was formed
in 1959 and later (in 1972) renamed the Oahu Groundwater Users Associa-
tion to emphasize the island-wide interests of groundwater management.
It is through this voluntary association that the operating level deci-
sions are partially coordinated. The major users at the operating level
consist of both public and private entities--the military (U.S. Navy),
two large land trusts (Bishop and Campbell Estates), agriculture (Oahu
Sugar Co.) and municipal water supply (Honolulu Board of Water Supply).
Their respective priorities of interest are diverse--national defense
(Navy), general welfare and education of children of Hawaiian ancestry
(Bishop Estate), safe and certain income for surviving beneficiaries
(Campbell Estate), profits and dividends for shareholders (Oahu Sugar
Co.) and public health and safety in water supply, public health,
safety and welfare and interests of water users ,(Honolulu BWS). Yet
their common interest in the groundwater basin has led them into at
least two formal agreements, one on a bilateral basis between the Hono-
lulu BWS and the U.S. Navy (1956) and the other on a wider multilateral
basis between the Bishop Estate, Oahu Sugar Co., and the U.S. Navy.
The basic purpose of these and other occasional informal agreements is
to insure that the essential water needs of the participants continue
to be met in times of threatened water supply or quality through avail-
able management techniques such as varying pumping patterns over time
and space, and reallocation of water according to quality requirements.
These arrangements have to some extent averted major losses al-
though a few near shore deep wells have had to be abandoned due to
excessive chlorides, and the hydrologic imbalance between inflows and
outflows continues to grow. Withdrawals fluctuate between 220 and 245
MGD and are increasing as natural recharge is adversely affected
through changing patterns of land use towards urbanization. Chlorides
have steadily increased along certain marginal areas and growth in the
next 15 years is expected to require an additional 30 MGD. Whether this
increasing stress on the groundwater basin can be handled adequately
through the existing decision system is an open question which has
become of increasing concern among water officials in the State. A
practical approach to dealing with the situation relies on the safe
minimum standard to protect the basin against large irreversible losses,
and fiscal devices, such as pump taxes and equity funds, to distribute
the costs of maintaining and improving on such a standard in a manner
that could mobilize the potentials of the common property concept at
minimum cost over time (Oh and Yamauchi, 1975).6
TENURE CONCEPTS AND THE REASONABLE BENEFICIAL USE PRINCIPLE
Issues of water rights in Hawaii have been confused with questions
of private vs. state ownership of the water resources and also the ex-
CONSERVATION IN HAWAII
tent to which the transport and use of the water is permitted under the
rights. "Ownership", "usership" and "transfer" are basic tenure con-
cepts which need to be clarified before the key relations between man
and water resources can be better understood.
Ownership vs. Usership. Water rights are part of land ownership
rights. Ownership relates directly to land and not directly to the
natural water resource itself. Landowners with water rights may be
either private or public. It is not necessarily a question of private
vs. state ownership of water rights. Both private and public landowners
with access to natural water resources have rights to use the water.
This does not mean that ownership in the water resource itself is vested
in the landowners. It has been long established that these use rights
are not absolute. Rules controlling the use of water usually attempt to
take into account the coequal rights of others. Formulation of these
rules have come to rely on the broad and flexible "reasonable beneficial
Since these usership rights are relative and concern directly the
rights of coequal users (rather than owners), the rights are basically
usufructory. Landowners, whether private or public, with access to na-
tural water resources have these usufructory rights to water. Since wa-
ter is a flow resource, the only way that ownership to the water itself
can be established is through capture and reduction to possession. But
even this is possible only through the exercise of the usufructory right
Transfer. This is a more complex and basically more important mat-
ter of concern. There is no question that a landowner can transfer his
ownership title to land and along with it all the associated usufructs,
including water rights. But can he transfer the right to use water sep-
arately from the rest of the "bundle of rights" to land?
There appears to be general restrictions on separable transfers in
the original riparian doctrine. But even in this doctrine the "reason-
able beneficial use" principle has come to apply. So the transfer of
use rights should also be subject to this principle. What is reasonable
and beneficial is left for determination on a case-by-case basis.
The complexities or confusions regarding transfer are compounded by
what appears to be general restrictions on the physical development,
transport and application of water and appurtenant lands. In fact, how-
ever, water has been developed, transported and used in accordance with
the physical and economic needs and realities of time and place.
Water laws have acted as constraints or as means to achieving water
development and reallocation objectives. In general, the water laws
that survive adapt to the physical and economic realities. Thus, the
specific policies, rules and regulations governing the legal transfer of
water rights, and the physical development, transport and use of water
differ from place to place and also change over time. This is true for
Hawaii as well as for other states.
506 IRRIGATION AND DRAINAGE AND WATER RESOURCES
Under various state laws, the legal transfer of water rights have
been affected in various ways as diagramed below.
Transfer of Water Rights
Direct* Indirect* Condemna- Prescrip- Abandonment
(through sale (through sale tion* for tion or forfeit-
or purchase or purchase of public use ture of wa-
of rights) land to which ter rights
Under this scheme, prescription is a form of involuntary transfer
of water rights without compensation. Through legislative action, the
depletion tendencies of prescription can be neutralized by removing the
incentives for overuse through extended periods. This might be accom-
plished by allowing adverse uses as long as no actual damage is caused
and at the same time not allowing such adverse uses to ripen into pre-
scriptive rights. This so called "harmless use" doctrine has been in-
stituted through legislative action in the State of New York.
Under whatever water rights doctrine (riparian, correlative, appro-
priation or combinations and variations thereof) the specific rules for
transfer might have developed, the minimum requirement for their survi-
val in situations of conflict would certainly have to be in conformance
to the "reasonable beneficial use" principle. This would also hold for
Anchoring this broad and flexible principle in State water policy
can serve as the basis for modernizing water regulations and administra-
tion in Hawaii. It can also help to clarify the water rights concept
and remove the present ambiguities of "ownership" that tend to confuse
the more important issues of transfer and conservation.
STATE ORGANIZATION AND COORDINATION OF WATER POLICY
THROUGH LOCAL WATER USERS ASSOCIATIONS
In typical mainland states, local governments, including multiple
layerings of public districts, are established, regulated and supervised
by the states. Zoning and similar regulations are mostly the domain of
local governments based on state enabling legislation. Hawaii is some-
what different in these respects in that the State Constitution provides
for a single layer of four county governments which are structured each
according to its own charter and are allowed to function quite independ-
ently through its own respective legislative (council) and executive
(mayor and his administrative agencies) branches. The only public dis-
tricts in operation are the soil and water conservation districts which
are legislatively established and regulated and supervised by the State.
Also, zoning and related regulations in Hawaii have been to a large ex-
CONSERVATION IN HAWAII
tent preempted by the state government and redistributed among the var-
ious state and county government agencies.
As far as water development in Hawaii is concerned, only a minor
fraction of the total water supply has been developed by the State. By
far the largest share has been by sugarcane plantations for irriga-
tion followed by county boards of water supply, military and self-
State water policy must, therefore, be conditioned to the fact that
public water development by the State and counties are not as extensive
as that, by agriculture and self-service industries in the private sec-
Local water users associations can be legally authorized through
legislation to represent the common property interests in water. These
users associations can be generally organized for realizing specific wa-
ter conservation and management objectives within their respective ju-
risdictions. The structure and jurisdictional authorities of these users
associations can be left flexible so as to take advantage of certain
characteristics which can make them suitable for attending to a wide
range of water conservation and management problems. These characteris-
tics relate to the basic nature of water problems and our ability to
deal with them.
In typical mainland situations where political boundaries do not
correspond to hydrographic units, difficulties in management and control
arise because water problems are not necessarily confined to either pol-
itical or watershed boundaries. In Hawaii, because the layering of
government is limited to essentially one level of local county.units
under the State, and for the most part these local jurisdictions are
geographically contiguous with island units, the typical mainland pro-
blem of over-lapping multiple jurisdictions does not present itself.
Thus, when a well-defined water problem arises, the users association
can be formed in such a way that all and exclusively those with vested
common property interests in the water problem can be included. Only
those for whom the problem has direct relevance need participate in
the solution. Such an organization can have intertemporal flexibility,
since they can be created under State enabling legislation and, as
conditions change, their powers can be altered by appropriate
legislation (at the initiative and consent) of the common property
The users organizations' ability to focus attention on specific
problems at a time can be an important attribute, especially where com-
mon property interests under the present institutional framework feel
that their problem cannot be given proper attention by existing agencies
with limited and uncoordinated responsibilities to undertake and solve
the problem. Some of these agencies (particularly water supply agencies)
typically compete with other common property interests. Moreover,
existing agencies may lack legal authority to perform certain desired
Users associations formed under enabling legislation can be author-
ized fiscalpowers to assess and float bond issues to tackle the water
problems. Accountability for the exercise of such fiscal powers would
be internalized to the direct common property interests and through them
IRRIGATION AND DRAINAGE AND WATER RESOURCES
to indirect water users (i.e., customers of public water supply systems).
A flexible grouping of special interests can be facilitated through
such a users association while at the same time avoiding the disadvan-
tages of excessive fragmentation and conflicts that are inherent in the
multiple and overlapping public districts (special and general) typical
of mainland states.
Conjunctive use of surface water and groundwater, and integrated
management of water quantity and quality can be facilitated through
such users associations without fear of losing water rights through
prescription, and condemnation.
In California, the most successful special water districts are in
effect users associations which are created because groundwater rights
(under the correlative-rights doctrine) essentially forced responsibili-
ty for groundwater management upon local users (e.g., the Orange County
and Santa Clara County Water Districts) rather than upon a state agency.
Since water rights are part of land ownership rights, which are vested
in private and public entities, the tendency toward well-organized user
organizations is a natural outcome which might someday also be realized
The recent legal uncertainties on water rights may force landowners
with water rights to act more in their common interests rather than to
rely on a state agency to regulate in the interest of the public wel-
fare. The advantages of collective actions through the user organiza-
tion approach relate to both the stock and flow nature of water resour-
Adjudication of water rights to flows is not necessary. All water
rights could be pooled within the water users association. This organi-
zation could then allocate the flows of groundwater or surface water
(including reclaimed waste waters) or combination thereof to individual
The underground storage and distribution capacities (stock aspects)
can be more efficiently utilized. These storage and distribution capac-
ities can be used to counteract seasonal and cyclical variability of
precipitation without a complex system of prices and other inducements
that would become necessary if all rights to groundwater and surface
waters were held by the ultimate private and public users.
FOOTNOTES AND REFERENCES
1. The basic concept and principles of conservation economics are de-
veloped in S.V. Ciriacy-Wantrup's Resource Conservation Economics
and Policies, University of California, Division of Agricultural
Sciences, Third Edition, 1968, p. 395. Also by the same author,
"Water Economics: Relations to Law and Policy," in Water Rights and
Law, Editor-in-Chief, Robert Emmet Clark, Vol. 1, Indianapolis,
Indiana: The Allen Smith Co., 1967, pp. 397-428.
CONSERVATION IN HAWAII
2. Wells A. Hutchins, The Hawaiian System of Water Rights, Board of
Water Supply, City and County of Honolulu, 1946, p. 227. This book
still remains the most comprehensive published source of Hawaii's
so-called "unique" system of water rights. Recent updating of this
study is included in the three volume works of Wells A. Hutchins'
Water Rights Laws of the Nineteen Western States (Vol. 1, 1971;
Vol. 2, 1974; Vol. 3, 1977), completed by Harold H. Ellis and J.
Peter De Braal, Miscellaneous Publication No. 1206, Natural Resour-
ces Division, Economic Research Service, USDA.
See also, A Summary-Digest of State Water Laws (1973) for the
National Water Commission by Richard L. Dewsnup, Dallin W. Jensen,
Editors, and Robert W. Swenson, Associate Editor, Chapter 11,
"Hawaii," pp. 243-257.
3. An earlier economic study, which does not reflect the results of the
1973 McBryde decision and subsequent appeals is given by Eamon T.
Morahan and Hiroshi Yamauchi in Hawaii's System of Water Rights: An
Economic Evaluation, University of Hawaii, Water Resources Research
Center, Technical Report No. 57, 1972. A more recent economic over-
view is described in Hiroshi Yamauchi's "An Economic Overview of
Hawaii's Water Institutions" (1977), in Water Resources Bulletin,
American Water Resources Association, Vol. 13, No. 4, pp. 759-768.
4. In earlier claims ancient appurtenant rights were often confused
with "prescriptive" rights, but this was a misnomer since true pre-
scriptive rights are based on adverse use, whereas the ancient rights
were essentially permissive in nature.
The legal effect of suffering another to adversely possess
one's land for the statutory period is not only to bar the
remedy of the owner of the proper title, but actually to
divert his estate and to vest it in the adverse party, who
obtains a title in fee simple as perfect as a title by deed.
(Quoted from Hutchins who cites Waianae Co. v. Kaiwilei,
24 HAW, 1, 7 , citing Leialoha v. Walter, 21 HAW,
624, 630 .)
This same principle of prescription applies to water rights. To es-
tablish a prescriptive title to a water right, there must have been
an "actual, open, notorious, continuous and hostile" use of the wa-
ter for the statutory period of limitations. In 1892, it was
settled that a prescriptive right could be acquired only by adverse
and continuous use for twenty years. Six years later, in 1898, the
statutory period of limitations was reduced to ten years, and then
recently, in 1973, changed back to twenty years.
5. See also Williamson B.C. Chang, "The Enforcement of Consistency in
Hawaiian Water Rights: An Introduction to Robinson v. Ariyoshi,"
Paper presented to the American Water Works Association, Hawaii
Section Annual Meeting, Kauai, April 1978.
6. For more on the problem of groundwater management on Oahu, see
Ho-sung Oh and Hiroshi Yamauchi, Patterns and Trends of Water Con-
sumption in the Service Areas of the Honolulu Board of Water Supply,
University of Hawaii, Water Resources Research Center, Technical
Report No. 84, 1975.
IRRIGATION AND DRAINAGE AND WATER RESOURCES
GLOSSARY OF HAWAIIAN LAND TERMS
(Source: Terminology of Hawaiian Land Divisions,
Arranged by R.D. King from Real Property Manual,
Dated January 1, 1942)
Ahupuaa The islands were each divided into districts called Mokus,
which seem to have been geographical subdivisions only,
for there were no administrators over these Mokus, as
Each Mdku was divided, for landholding purposes, into
smalled divisions called Ahupuaas, varying in size and
shape. The typical form of an Ahupuaa was a strip run-
ning from the sea to the mountains and containing a sea
fishery and sea beach, a stretch of Kula or open cultiva-
table land and, higher up, its forest. All Ahupuaas had
definite boundaries, usually of natural features, such as
gulches, ridges and streams, and each had its specific
name. A chief held it, not owned it, for he owed al-
legiance to a higher chief or the sovereign.
IZi Many of the Ahupuaas were subdivided into smaller lands
called IZis. Each had its own individual title and was
carefully marked as to boundary.
Ili There were two kinds of IZis, one, the IZi Kupono, known
Kupono also as IZi Ku,being a portion of land, the "ownership"
of which is fixed, for the chief holding an IZi Kupono
continued to hold, whatever the change in the Ahupuaa
chief. In other words, the transfer of an Ahupuaa to a
new chief did not carry with it the transfer of any IZi
Kupono contained within its limits.
IZi of the The other IZi was the IZi of the Ahupuaa. His of the
Ahupuaa Ahupuaa were subdivisions for the convenience of the
chief holding the Ahupuaa.
Kuleana The small areas of an Ahupuaa, which the tenants, or com-
mon people, had improved or cultivated and used for their
own purposes and to which they substantiated their claims
and perfected their rights, securing from the Land
Commission an Award of Title in Fee Simple, were known as
KuZeanas. The word itself means "rights"--a right of
property which pertains to an individual--and was applied
uniformly during the existence of the Land Commission to
the Fee Simple holdings awarded by it to the common
Konohiki The head man of an Ahupuaa or a person who had charge of
a land with others under him was called a konohiki. He
was an agent who managed a chief's lands. The word
Konohiki in time came to be applied to the land under
such an agent's care, thus the land held by a chief, an
Ahupuaa or IZi, was known as Konohiki Land.
DECISION MAKING IN WATER RESOURCE SYSTEMS
By Frank J. Trelease, III, M. ASCE1
In Wyoming, decision making for water resources systems is done in
:he context of the system of water laws that originated with the State
constitutionn adopted in 1890.
WYOMING'S WATER LAWS
The early citizens of Wyoming, greatly influenced by an engineer
.rom Colorado, Elwood Mead, framed the decision making process for
Jyoming water resources systems when they ratified the State Constitu-
:ion. Article I declares, "Water being essential to industrial pros-
,erity of limited amount and the ease of diversion from its natural
channels its controls must be in the State which in providing for its
se, equally guard all of the interests involved". Article VIII of the
constitutionn is entitled Irrigation and Water Rights. Water of all
Natural streams, springs, lakes or other collections of still waters
withinn the boundaries of the State is declared to be the property of
he State. Article VIII of the Constitution establishes the Board of
control consisting of the four water division superintendents con-
rolling water in the State and the State Engineer, who is president
the Board of Control. The State Engineer is put in charge of ad-
inistering appropriations of water and administering the water between
ppropriators. Priority of an appropriation for beneficial use gives
he better right. In other words, the first in time is the first in
State statutes set forth the rules and regulations for appropri-
tion and use of water. The concept of the appropriation doctrine can
e simply explained. When a person desires to make a beneficial use of
water he establishes that use, and it will be considered the best use
untill another better use comes along. In 1909 the Legislature estab-
ished preferred uses. The preference order is (1) drinking (domestic
nd stock water); (2) water for municipal purposes; (3) "water for the
se of steam engines and for general railway use, water for culinary,
laundry, bathing, refrigerating (including the manufacture of ice),
-Vice President BRW/Noblitt, formerly Director, Wyoming Water
512 IRRIGATION AND DRAINAGE AND WATER RESOURCES
for steam and hot water heating plants, and steam power plants"; (4)
industrial purposes. Also implied are preferences: (5) irrigation,
and; (6) hydropower.
The statutes provide for the condemnation of irrigation rights
for the first three preferred uses, except for steam power plant use.
Irrigation water rights may be purchased by an industry and the use
The procedures for changing the use of a right or transferring
water rights from one use to another have been spelled out in two re-
cent legislatures. Permission to make a change in use of a water
right must be requested in a petition to the Board of Control or the
State Engineer. The petition must set forth the facts about the ex-
isting use, the proposed use, and all other pertinent information.
Public hearings may be held in the process. The change in use may be
allowed provided the quantity of water transferred by granting the
petition does not exceed the amount of water historically diverted
under the existing use, or exceed the historic rate of diversion under
existing use or increase the historic amount consumptively used under
the existing use. The new use shall not decrease the historic amount
of return flow, or in any other manner injure another water appropria-
tor. The Board of Control must also consider the economic loss by
transferring the existing use, the extent to which the loss will be
offset by the new use, and whether other sources of water are available
for the new use.
INTERSTATE COMPACTS AND WATER USE
Interstate stream compacts establish the rights of Wyoming to
surplus waters or waters not currently being used which flow from
Wyoming to downstream States. Interstate compacts were negotiated on
most of Wyoming's streams after U. S. Supreme Court litigation had
precluded such agreements on the Laramie and North Platte Rivers,
streams serving Eastern Wyoming. These compacts were then ratified
by the Legislature making them a part of the legislative water policy
of the State of Wyoming. In general, these interstate compacts
recognize the water rights and uses of water existing in Wyoming as of
the time of the compact and establish provisions for making new uses
of water resources within Wyoming.
Uses of Wyoming's water in other states must be approved by the
WYOMING GROUND WATER LAW
Wyoming's ground water law was established in its present form
by the 1957 Legislature. The most recent substantial changes in the
law were made by the 1973 Legislature.
Anyone intending to use water must have a permit from the State
Engineer. Ground water is to be regulated according to priority date
the same as surface water uses. The priority date for ground water
permits is the date the application to appropriate ground water is re-
ceived and filed in the State Engineer's Office. The law recognizes
that physical properties and determination of water availability for
ground water resources is considerably different than for surface
water aid allows for the differences.
No absolute well spacing requirements have been established. If
well locations are such that unreasonable interference between wells
develop, the water rights will be administered on the basis of priority.
If well locations are such that interference between surface water
flows and ground water withdrawals develop, the priorities of ground
water rights will be correlated with surface water rights and regulated
A division advisory committee on ground water has been established
in each of the State's four water divisions. These committees consist
of three individuals who reside within the water division and who are
appointed by the Governor for six-year terms. The functions of the
committees are to advise the State Engineer and the State Board of
Control on matters relative to ground water development in the water
division and to call and supervise the election of control area ad-
Whenever the State Engineer has reason to believe that a control
area should be established, he makes a report to the State Board of
Control who may order designation of a control area, after a hearing,
on the basis of the following:
A. The use of ground water is approaching the current recharge
B. Ground water levels are declining or have declined excessiv-
C. Conflicts between water users are occurring or may occur.
D. Other conditions exist or may arise that require regulations
for the protection of the public interest.
The designation of a control area serves three primary purposes:
1. It provides a mechanism to slow development so as to ensure
that prior water rights are protected and not subjected to
2. It provides for the election of a control area advisory board
comprised of five people living within the control area to
advise and assist the State Engineer in formulating policies
concerning ground water development in the control area.
IRRIGATION AND DRAINAGE AND WATER RESOURCES
3. It provides a means by which regulation of the use of ground
water can be developed and implemented should the situation
Another provision of law important in understanding the appropri-
ation and use of ground water in Wyoming refers to interference com-
plaints. Any appropriator of either surface or ground water may file
a written complaint alledging interference with his water right by a
later priority ground water right. Complaints are to be filed with the
State Engineer and must set out in detail the facts pertinent to the
situation. Each complaint is to be accompanied by a fee of $100 to
help defray the cost of the investigation. Upon receiving the com-
plaint and fee, the State Engineer will undertake an investigation to
determine if the alleged interference does exist. Following the
investigation, the State Engineer will issue a report stating his
findings and suggestions on various means of stopping, rectifying or
ameliorating the interference or damage. Any appropriator who is
dissatisfied with the results in the State Engineer's report and pro-
cedure may appeal to the State Board of Control. The decision of the
State Board of Control can then be appealed to the courts.
In practice, the State Engineer has attempted to enable reasonable
use within the available rechargeable water resources of an aquifer so
as undue well interference and water level lowering is avoided.
The Wyoming Water Planning Program was established in the State
Engineer's Office as a result of legislation passed in 1967. The
Framework Water Plan established under the planning program essentially
is a quantification of existing water supplies, uses, existing water
needs, projected future water needs and a quantification of the water
supplies available under compacts and court decrees to meet the future
The 1973 Legislature formalized the planning process, established
the Governor's Interdepartmental Water Conference (those State
agencies with responsibilities or interests affected by water resources)
to coordinate water resources planning, and stated that the State
Engineer shall formulate plans which implement the policies stated in
the Wyoming Constitution and in statutes pertaining to the State's
water and related land resources. Water resources plan and revisions
are to be submitted to the Interdepartmental Water Conference for its
advice and comments.
WYOMING WATER DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM
To encourage development of the surplus waters for new uses
rather than from transfers of existing water rights and to encourage
multipurpose water development, the Legislature passed the 1975
Wyoming Water Development Program Act. This Act gives the Interde-
partmental Water Conference the authority to select projects for
consideration by the State, investigate the feasibility of the projects,
and propose the projects to the Legislature for authorization.
The statutes specify the contents of planning and feasibility re-
ports for both the State Engineer planning and the Water Development
Program. Among other things the reports shall "identify and specify
appropriate state, regional, and local goals and objectives for manage-
ment of water resources, including the obtaining of economic efficiency,
a desirable distribution of income, the protection of the health,
safety, and welfare of the people, and the protection and encouragement
of particular industries and activities including the protection and
enhancement of the environment." Projects and alternatives are to be
compared in terms of the goals specified. Minimum streamflows are
among the water needs that are to be identified and considered in
APPLICATIONS OF THE DECISION MAKING PROCESS
Two examples of decision making processes within the system of
water laws are presented below. One is a potential surface water
system, and the other example is a ground water supply system.
Surface Water Example The Tongue River
Wyoming has water supplies available in the Tongue River by allo-
cation of the Yellowstone River Compact. Although there is, no inter-
state stream compact allocating the waters of the Little Bighorn River,
it is presumed that water could be made available for new uses in
Wyoming from that stream (see Figure 1). These water supplies consti-
tute a significant portion of the remaining supplies available in
Over the years there have been proposals for developing new water
supplies from the Tongue and Little Bighorn Rivers and their tribu-
taries. Applications for water rights have been filed on the streams
and companies and individuals propose to develop these water supplies
now, primarily for industrial purposes. The State of Wyoming, through
the Interdepartmental Water Conference, conducted a preliminary inves-
tigation to determine: (1) Would proposed developments preclude
developing supplemental water for existing uses? (2) Would the pro-
posals "cream off" a portion of the surplus supplies leaving the re-
mainder too costly to develop? (3) What multiple uses can be included
in water projects? (4) What are the potentials most logical for State
participation to provide multipurpose water resources development under
the Water Development Act of 1975?
With these purposes in mind, the State with the help of a con-
sulting firm identified the various possibilities to meet water needs
in the Sheridan area of Wyoming. The alternatives investigated are
shown on Figure 1. Table I presents the data on cost yield compari-
sons of various individual water development projects and combina-
tions of projects.
COST-YIELD COMPARISONS >
Wyoming Compact Water Wyoming Plus Montana Cooperation >
0% Fish-Flow 25% Fish-Flow 33% Fish-Flow 0% Fish-Flow 25% Fish-Flow 33% Fish-Flow Z
Total Firm Annual Firm Annual Firm Annual Firm Annual Firm Annual Firm Annual
(0) Storage Yield Cost Yield Cost Yield Cost Yield Cost Yield Cost Yield Cost
Capital Annual (1000 (1000 Per (1000 Per (1000 Per (1000 Per (1000 Per (1000 Per
Cost Cost Acre- Acre- Acre- Acre- Acre- Acre- Acre- Acre- Acre- Acre- Acre- Acre- Acre-
Project ($1000) ($1000) Feet) Feet) Foot Feet) Foot Feet) Foot Feet) Foot Feet) Foot Feet) Foot
North Fork Dam & Reservoir $24,850 $1,255 40.2 21.6 $58 15.6 $80 13.8 $91 (6) (6) (6)
South Fork Dam Reservoir 20,789 1,050 27.3 20.5(1) 51 20.5(1) 51 20.5(1) 51 (5) (5) (5) >
Rockwood Dam & Reservoir 50,740 2,563 125.0 68.5 37 68.5 37 65.5 39 93.0 28 83.0 31 79.0 32
Upper Stateline Dam & 2) (2) (1)
Reservoir 46,645 2.357 204.0 85.8' 27 85.8 27 84.7 28 163.0 14 109.0 22 93.0 25
Prairie Dog Dam, 2 ( (
Reservoir & Pump Station 20,923 1.057 39.0 30.8 34 30.8(2) 34 30.8(2) 34 (5) (5) (5)
Sheridan Canal (3) System 0
w/Dam & Reservoir at Shutts (3) (3) (3)
Flats 5,370 271 11.4 8.6 17 8.6 17 8.6 17 (1) (1) (1)
Little Bighorn Import 4 86,200 4,355 70.4 56.2(1) 77 56.2 77 48.6 90 56.2 77 56.21 77 49.1 89 C
A. Diversion Pipeline to
Dam 6 Reservoir 53,577 2,707 42.5 34.01) 80 34.0(1) 80 34.0(1) 80 (5) (5) (5)
B. "A" Above Plus Pump
Station and Pipeline
-- l B.. BgI. 1a-t- 3t 155 5 6!7 19 90 3. 0 104 II (st (5) _
A.~~~ Dieso Pie.-et
Beatty (Gulch Dem, eservoir
& Supply Canal 16.053 811 27.8 22.21) 37
Fuller Reservoir 30,656 1.549 22.8 17.2(1) 90
Sheridan Canal System Using (1) (7)
South Fork Dam and Res. 24.497 1,238 27.3 20.5 45(7)
Sheridan Canal System Using
Rockwood Dam and Res. 54.443 2,750 125.0 68.5 40
Prairie Dog Dam 6 Reservoir
Plus South Fork Dam 6
Reservoir (10) 41.712 2,107 66.3 45.5 46
Prairie Dog Dam & Reservoir
Plus Upper Stateline Dam (
& Reservoir 67.568 3,414 243.0 76.1(2) 45
Rockwood Dam & Reservoir
Plus Upper Stateline Dam
Stage 1 Rockwood Only 47,740 2.412 57.0 42.7(1) 56
Stage 2 Both (9)
Pump Storage Project 94,385 4,768 261.0 74.9(8) 64
45 14.5 56 (5)
90 17.2(1) 90 (5)
45(7) 20.51) 45(7) (1)
68.5 40 65.5
45.5 46 41.5
42 93.0 30 83.0 33 79.0 35
51 49.5 43
76.1 76.1 45 193.0 18
76.1(2) 45 76.1(2) 45 193.0 18
49.5(1) 43 49.5(1) 43
139.0 25 116.0
42.7(1) 56 37.0 65 (1) (1) (1)
74.9(8) 64 72.0(8) 64 184.0 26 116.5 41 101.58)
(0) Annual cost based on 4 percent interest and 40 year payoff crf = .05052.
(1) Limited by physical size of reservoir (firm yield = active storage).
(2) Montana Compact allocation (bypass requirement) is larger than fish-flow.
(3) Cost calculated on yield of 15,700 a.f., 8.600 a.f. from storage in reservoir, plus 7,100 a.f. direct flow from Tongue River. Yield obtained
more than 7 out of 10 years.
(4) Diversion dam pipeline to Tongue River, Parkman Dam & Reservoir, supply canal to Beatty Gulch Dam & Reservoir.
(5) Minimal value to Montana.
(6) Negligible effect on yield.
(7) Cost calculated on yield of 27.600 a.f., 20,500 a.f. from reservoir and 7.100 a.f. direct flow from Tongue River. Irrigation
demand obtained more than 7 out of 10 years.
(8) Does not include 22,000 a.f. used for pump storage project.
(9) Does not include cost of pump storage reservoir and generation plan.
(10) South Fork senior priority.
-P----~II~IIIUIII ----IY-~-YIYIII1411 IIPl~_i
Provisions for instream flows were included in the water supplies
studies. All projects were analyzed using 33% of average annual flow
or the inflow to potential projects as recommended by the Game and
Fish Department as a desired minimum stream condition. During the
irrigation season, bypasses at upstream dams to meet downstream irri-
gation senior water rights would exceed the fish flow requirements
for those dams at sites in the Big Horn Mountains. A second level of
instream flows investigated was based on 25% of average annual flow
for the minimum flows to ascertain the real differences that provision
Sof instream flows could make to water project costs. A third level of
no instream flow requirement below prospective dams was done in order
to portray the fact that current Wyoming water law does not require
instream flows. It should be pointed out that Wyoming must pass
water downstream to Montana to meet the Yellowstone Compact require-
ments anyway, so provisions for instream flows not only benefit the
stream but also provide for compact deliveries as well..
The study assumes that minimum pools would be provided for recre-
ation and fishery purposes in all prospective dams investigated.
Minimum pools plus instream flows should provide for recreation at the
various alternative sites studied.
The investigation verifies that the proposed Sheridan Canal
Project together with storage constructed in the Big Horn Mountains,
remains the most viable alternative for supplementing water-short
irrigated lands in the basin. It would provide supplemental water
supplies to 9,200 acres along the Little Tongue, Wolf, Soldier, and
Big Goose Creeks. It may also be possible that new lands could be
developed with the project water supply rather than supplementing
currently irrigated lands, if desired. All alternatives pose high
water costs, but if municipal and industrial (M&I) water supplies
can be included in a project, water pricing can be used to lessen costs
of irrigation water.
S Some of the basic conclusions resulting from the study are the
1. The potential Prairie Dog Dam and Tongue River pumping
plant and the Sheridan Canal and Shutts Flatts Dam (or
alternative of comparable size and capability) apparently
can provide industrial and irrigation water, respectively,
as independent facilities and operations.
2. Possibilities exist for providing irrigation and M&I water
supplies. The only single site that could supply an irri-
gation and large industrial supply is the potential Rockwood
Dam. This facility and others in the Big Horn National
Forest have potential opposition.
3. A second possibility for irrigation, M&I, and a large indus-
trial supply would be the potential South Fork Dam and the
Prairie Dog Dam.
IRRIGATION AND DRAINAGE AND WATER RESOURCES
From local area citizen input and further consideration of the
identifiable water needs, a proper decision appears to be to issue
water rights permits to construct the Prairie Dog Dam and Tongue River
pumping plant to develop a water supply for a thermal electric power
plant and to issue permits on a South Tongue River storage facility and
the Sheridan Canal to meet irrigation and possibly M&I water needs.
The power company is proceeding with planning the Prairie Dog Dam and
facilities and determining the potential for participating in the up-
stream project. The State has further analyzed the hydrologic effects
of alternative South Fork storage dams in terms of reservoir fluctua-
tions and streamflow changes. These data have been provided to the
U. S. Forest Service to aid in land use planning and environmental
assessments relative to obtaining special use permits for rights-of-
way for the facilities. Work continues with the local irrigators and
towns to determine project details and feasibility.
Hopefully, through this planning and water rights issuing process
coupled with project financing arrangements, proper decisions can be
made for a multiple use water development for the Tongue River Basin.
Ground Water Example Madison Formation
The Madison Formation and equivalent rocks known by other names
is a sequence of limestone and dolomite found at depths throughout
most of Wyoming, Montana, and North and South Dakota. Figure 2 shows
the depth to the Madison limestone in the Powder River Basin and ad-
jacent areas of Wyoming. The thickness of the formation varies from
less than 200 feet in the southern portion of the area shown to more
than 800 feet in the northern portion along the Wyoming border. The
aquifer slopes abruptly basinward to the east from the Big Horn
Mountains which are the western boundary shown on Figure 2, then from
the greatest depth it slopes gradually toward the Hartville Hills and
the Black Hills located in eastern Wyoming and western South Dakota.
The Laramie Range forms the southern portion of the area shown on
Recharge areas are found in the Black Hills, Big Horn Mountains,
Laramie Range, and Hartville Hills. The approximate annual rate of
natural recharge to the Madison Formation has been estimated by the
State Engineer in studies partially funded by the Old West Regional
Commission. The USGS was retained to measure stream gains and losses
as the streams cross the Madison limestone. The rate of recharge was
estimated from a water balance equation considering precipitation, the
total evapotranspiration, the runoff and stream gages gains and
losses. Table 2 presents the estimated recharge in Wyoming.
SCALE i I
P I --P D .0-- _-L I -
Old w s Rf. ol LComis L
Gmnb tafl R.ehrg- Sftly
WI'nCO StOW En0rw =*
Depth to the Madison Limestone and equivalent rocks
in the Powder River Basin and adjacent areas
IRRIGATION AND DRAINAGE AND WATER RESOURCES
TABLE 2 Estimated Recharge to Madison Limestone
in Northeastern Wyoming
Total Estimated Recharge
Location (Acre-Feet per Year)
Big Horn Mountains 43,500
Laramie Range 3,400
Hartville Hills 2,800
Black Hills 25,500
Total Northeastern Wyoming 75,200
The amount of ground water stored in the formation in Northeastern
Wyoming is not known with any degree of certainty, however, estimates
vary from 100 million to 1 billion acre-feet.
In the context of these physical parameters, the State Engineer
must determine what permits to issue for use of the Madison ground
water. Permits have already been granted for the existing uses, test
well permits for a coal gasification proposal, and 40 production well
permits have been granted for a coal slurry pipeline proposal. Be-
tween 1973 and 1975 various applicants filed applications with the
State Engineer for permits to construct over 280 Madison ground water
wells for a combined capacity of over 500,000 gpm.
In granting the slurry pipeline permits (which were okayed by the
legislature for out of State use), the State Engineer attached eighteen
stipulations to the permits. Basically, these related to monitoring
the use of water and the effects of the use of water on piezometric
surface and other water users, specifying the amount of water that
could be withdrawn within any given year or period of years, and
specifying the ownership of the wells will succeed to the State if the us
of the wells for slurry pipeline purposes ceases. There was also a
$1 million bond posted assuring against interference with existing and
future water uses from the Madison for five towns. The pipeline
company is limited to an average use of 15,000 acre-feet per year.
The State Engineer has informally determined the other proposed
uses would probably be from 90,000 to 110,000 acre-feet per year,
assuming the projects are constructed. The total of present and the
proposed future uses could range from 130,000 to 150,000 acre-feet per
year or about double the estimated annual recharge.
The problem, however, is that it is not known with certainty that
those who have applied for the water will, in fact, use it. The situ-
ation has arisen, in fact, where one of the last to apply for water
may be the first to actually put the water to use. The problem of
priority of water rights is somewhat lessened by the fact that this
appropriator is a municipality with right of condemnation for pre-
ferred use should competition in the amount of water result.
Clearly, the State Engineer could determine that there is not
enough water for all of the proposed projects if the recharge rate
cannot be exceeded. Presumably, then, he could issue permits to the
first project in priority, the second, and so on, until the recharge
rate has been reached.
Regulation of ground water by strict priority methods is, however,
often technically unsound due to several physical factors. These
factors consist of the heterogenous nature of the aquifer material,
the distances involved between wells and well fields, quantities of
water involved, etc. In addition, not a great deal is known about the
Madison Formation and information will not become available without
development. The Madison may not act as a geohydrological unit.
Therefore, the State Engineer may elect to issue test well permits for
an investigation of the hydraulic effects of the new well upon the
water resource and other appropriators in a given locality. He may
also elect to consider the number of prior uses and amount of water
being withdrawn in a subarea of the formation before issuing permits,
and may elect to reject certain permits because of probable interfer-
ence with prior rights. The establishment of one or more control areas
could also be logical in managing the Madison aquifer.
The examples presented herein illustrate the water resources
systems decision making processes within the context of the priority
system of water law that exists in Wyoming. Other Western States
also utilize the prior rights appropriation doctrine of water law,
and utilize decision making processes for developing water or estab-
lishing streamflows and other goals in water resources systems. These
laws and decision making processes work. They evolve with the needs
and with the times through state legislative processes and judicial
decisions while protecting the investments and the water rights of the
existing water users.
CH2M Hill, March 1977, "Prefeasibility Study, Tongue and Little
Bighorn River Basin Project", prepared for Governor's Interdepart-
mental Water Conference with the Wyoming Water Planning Program
Trelease, Frank J., III, November 1975, "State Priorities for Water
Resources Allocation and Factors Influencing Policy Makers", in
Energy and the West, the National Conference of State Legislators,
Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Trelease, Frank J., III, January 1978, "Promoters Role in Ground
Water Development in Wyoming", prepared for the 1978 ASCE Pittsburgh
Wyoming State Engineer's Office, January 1974, "Regulations and
Instructions, Part II, Ground Water".
IRRIGATION AND DRAINAGE AND WATER RESOURCES
Wyoming State Engineer's Office, Water Planning Program, December 1974,
"A Report, Underground Water Supply in the Madison Limestone,
Northeastern Wyoming", prepared for the Wyoming State Legislature.
Wyoming State Engineer's Office, 1975, "Wyoming Water and Irrigation
Laws", compiled under the direction of George L. Christopulos,
Wyoming State Engineer's Office, Water Planning Program, June 1976,
"Investigation of Recharge to Groundwater Reservoirs of Northeastern
Wyoming, Report", prepared for the Old West Regional Commission.
Wyoming Water Planning Program, December 1977, "Gillette Project -
A system of water wells in the Madison Formation and pipeline
transmission to the Gillette area," prepared for the Governor's
Interdepartmental Water Conference.
OPERATING PROCEDURES FOR
John V. Walkerl/
Max E. Van Den Berg /
The writing of instructions for the operation of storage dams is not
new, but recent failures of dams, both large and small, have given the
process increased emphasis. This is especially true in developing
emergency procedures to protect human life and property in the event of
failure, flood, earthquake, or similar events.
Operating Procedures for storage dams and reservoirs are prepared to
establish in one primary document, with associated supporting documents,
controlled, complete, accurate, current, structure-oriented operating
instructions for each storage dam and reservoir and its related struc-
tures. Their purpose is to ensure adherence to approved operating
procedures over long periods of time and during changes in operating
personnel. The instructions should also permit responsible persons
knowledgeable in the field of reservoir operation but unfamiliar with
the conditions at a particular dam to operate the dam and reservoir
during emergency situations and at such other times as the regular
operator cannot perform his normal duties.
Operating Procedures are prepared primarily for the use of the person or
persons (damtenders) located at or nearest the dam and their immediate
supervisors assigned responsibility for the physical operation and
maintenance of the dam. The Operating Procedures should contain, as a
minimum, all information and instructions necessary for the damtenders
to correctly perform their duties.
Operating Procedures may include part or all of the instructions for
personnel at other locations having operating responsibility. The
extent of data and instructions, beyond those required by the damtender,
which should be included in the Operating Procedures will vary consid-
erably. The Operating Procedure and its supporting documents, however,
should establish complete operating and maintenance procedures for all
levels of responsibility, regardless of the plan selected for the group-
ing of instructions.
Some of the factors which affect the kind of a document which is written
consist of: size of dam kind of dam, size of impoundment, seismic
probability, inflow flood condition, population density downstream,
emergency procedures required, operational aspects, type of spillway,
reporting requirements, type of outlet, and many more.
In recent years it has been standard practice for designers and builders
of dams to provide the owners with a document usually called "Designers'
Operating Criteria" which fully describes the operation and maintenance
of the structure. However, documents of this type were not written for
older structures, and many written for newer structures have become out
of date. If a good designers' criteria book is available, it should be
used as the supporting document for Operating Procedures. In general,
however the Designers' Operating Criteria do not cover such items as
responsibility, communications, day-to-day operations, reporting, data
on inflow design flood, emergency procedures, and related items.
1/ Chief, Office of Structure Stability, U.S. Bureau of Reclamation,
- Boise, Idaho M, ASCE.
2/ Civil Engineer, Office of Structure Stability, U.S. Bureau of
- Reclamation, Boise, Idaho AM, ASCE.
IRRIGATION AND DRAINAGE AND WATER RESOURCES
Moreover, it is usually not a document which is kept current and changed
The following pages are meant to be a guide which can be used for the
writing and development of Operating Procedures for storage dams. The
degree of detail which is included can be varied depending upon circum-
stances surrounding the structure, not the least of which are size,
impoundment capacity, and the hazard potential to people downstream.
GENERAL INSTRUCTIONS FOR PREPARING OPERATING PROCEDURES
The Operating Procedures should give detailed, easy to understand
operating instructions. A responsible person knowledgeable with regard
to reservoir operation but unfamiliar with the operation and maintenance
of a particular dam should be able to read the instructions and then to
successfully operate and maintain the dam with its related structures
The suggested outline for preparation of Operating Procedures for
storage dams and reservoirs is as follows:
Change in seepage
Fish and wildlife losses
Log of events
Directions for traveling to dam
Assignment of responsibility
Cooperation with other agencies
Data and unusual occurrence reporting
Civil Defense and sabotage security plans
Revisions to Operating Procedures
Distribution of Operating Procedures
Supporting and supervisory documents
Schedule of readings
Analysis and evaluation
STRUCTURAL, MECHANICAL, AND ELECTRICAL
General description of dam2'
Electrical system and equipment.'
Auxiliary equipment and service system.'
Dam maintenance, inspection, and behavior observations2/
General filling schedule and release procedures
Flood operating criteria
Special reporting during flood or high water conditions
Limits on filling and drawdown
Prevention of water pollution by oil
Fish and wildlife considerations
Recreational management plan
Hydropower release criteria
Operating criteria for other functions
CONTRACTS AND AGREEMENTS
Fish and game
Municipal and industrial
Drawings or maps
Designers' Operating Instructions
Samples of forms
3/ Maintenance instructions should be specific with day-to-day work
- items necessary for operation. General instructions can best be
included in the appendix.
IRRIGATION AND DRAINAGE AND WATER RESOURCES
Unusual dam and reservoir conditions may require the addition of topics
in some Operating Procedures under headings not listed here. Neverthe-
less, the outline given above can readily be adapted for use at all
storage dams and reservoirs.
Operating Procedures and supporting documents should be bound with
fasteners which will facilitate revision. Covers should be of a flexi-
ble, durable material of a color which makes the document easily
A title page containing the name of the dam and reservoir should bear
the signature of the supervising engineer in charge or his designated
alternate and a date showing that the document has been established as
The table of contents of the Operating Procedures should'list all section
headings and their page numbers. Drawings, charts, maps, and photographs
should be numbered as plates to simplify references in the text. The
list of titles and plate and page numbers should be included immediately
following the table of contents. Tabulations should be numbered and
similarly listed. Appendixes should be identified and their contents
All pages in the Operating Procedures document and all later additions
or revisions should be numbered and dated. To note changes, it is
suggested that a page be inserted in the front of the Operating Proce-
dures with columns of: Revision No., Page No., Date of Revision, etc.
Most full-page tables and plates, particularly those that are folded,
should be assembled at the back of the Operating Procedures, although in
some cases it is desirable to place tables near the description of use.
Every effort should be made to insure that the latest revised drawings
are used in the preparation of the Operating Procedures. In some cases
where a large number of drawings is included, it may be desirable to
bind them in a separate volume. Each volume should be labeled Operating
Procedures Volume I, or Operating Procedures Volume II, or Operating
Procedures Drawing Appendix, etc.
The preparation of Operating Procedures for a dam and reservoir requires
a detailed study of the operating and maintenance procedures actually
employed. Because of the investment of time and effort involved, effec-
tive management dictates making reviews or studies either before or
simultaneously with the preparation of the Operating Procedures. The
following should be made in conjunction with preparation of the Operating
1. Review and determination of Emergency Procedures necessary in the
event of failure, flood, earthquake, etc.
2. Review of dam attendance, access, standby power, and communications
to determine adequacy under adverse weather and flood conditions.
3. Review of Designers' Operating Criteria to determine that all por-
tions and drawings of the Designers' Operating Criteria are still
valid for the existing structure.
4. Review of the existing posted operating instructions at the dam for
accuracy and completeness of the identification and operation of all
valves, switches, and equipment used to operate the specific facilities
at each location. Installation of name plates and color coding of
valves and pipes consistent with operating instructions is essential.
The Operating Procedures should require immediate corrective action when
posted instructions are found to be in error or illegible.
GUIDE FOR PREPARING SECTION ON COMMUNICATION
PROCEDURES AND DIRECTORY
This section should identify all means of communication available between
operating personnel at the dam their supervisors and other offices,
including backup facilities. Where applicable this section should
1. Telephone facilities at the dam
2. Radio facilities
3. Powerline communication facilities
4. Location of other private or public radio facilities for emergency
use and identification of local broadcasting stations and State Police
facilities for temporary radio communications for flood warnings.
If no means of communication is available at the dam, the location,
number, and owner of the nearest phone should be stated.
This section should be placed at the front of the Operating Procedures
in such a manner that pages can be readily changed and kept up to date.
GUIDE FOR PREPARING SECTION ON EMERGENCY PROCEDURES
AND UNUSUAL EVENTS
This section should be designed as a ready reference, located separately
in the front of the Operating Procedures, to provide an outline of steps
to be taken in case of an emergency or reporting of unusual events. An
unusual occurrence is an event which takes place or a condition which
develops which is NOT NORMALLY ENCOUNTERED in the ROUTINE OPERATION of
the dam and reservoir and which MAY ENDANGER THE DAM. The damtender
should immediately report the occurrence of unusual conditions to the
The following list of unusual events is typical of subjects where special
instructions should be spelled out in the Operating Procedures:
1. Failure or impending failure of the dam;
3. Flooding above normal water surface elevation or other restrictive
4. Increased leakage or change in appearance of seepage;
6. Severe storms;
7. Fire (forest or range and/or structural);
8. Demonstrations, vandalism, etc.;
9. Oil and hazardous chemical spills;
10. Fish and wildlife losses;
11. Major accidents to persons such as drownings or damage to property.
The following paragraphs outline possible actions and instructions which
might be used in the Operating Procedures. All of these events require
special reporting and procedures:
1. POSSIBLE DAM FAILURE Typical Instructions
DOWNSTREAM HAZARD POTENTIAL: A brief description of downstream
hazards to people and property should be placed at the beginning of
530 IRRIGATION AND DRAINAGE AND WATER RESOURCES
If the dam is failing, downstream evacuation of the flood plain
must be started immediately, by the following procedures:
(1) Inform the following by the fastest means possible:
Sheriff This procedure
State Police should be set up
Radio Station at by advance planning.
(2) Contact the supervisory office.
(3) Implement all possible efforts, if any, to reduce or minimize
resultant downstream flood.
(4) Coordinate efforts with Sheriff's Office or Civil Defense in
alerting all downstream areas.
(5) Maintain contact with personnel receiving previous reports.
NOTE: Damtending personnel must be able to recognize events which
might lead to "impending failure" of the dam. The damtender must
contact the Supervisory Office for an evaluation of the dam failure
potential. Determine during this contact what additional immediate
actions must be taken to reduce the risk of failure and what other
actions are necessary.
2. EARTHQUAKE Typical Instructions
SEISMIC EVALUATION: A brief evaluation of earthquake potential and
dam integrity under such stress should be inserted here to give
operating personnel some general idea of what to expect.
If an earthquake is felt at the dam or one has been reported to
have occurred in the area, follow the procedures below:
(1) Immediately conduct a general overall visual inspection of the
(2) IF THE DAM IS SEVERELY DAMAGED TO THE EXTENT THAT IT IS FAILING,
IMMEDIATELY IMPLEMENT "FAILURE OR IMPENDING FAILURE" PROCEDURES
UNUhK NUMOBK 1.
(3) If visible damage has occurred, make the following observations
and contacts immediately:
(a) Observe nature, location, and extent of damage.
(b) Report all information you have to the head office, and
key personnel. It is extremely important that the person
receiving your report understands your evaluation and
description of the potfTTT-al hazrd at the dam. A deci-
sion on further actions required must be promptly made.
(4) Thoroughly inspect the following for damage (tailored to the
(a) Dam embankment and abutments for possible displacement,
cracks, or appearances of water;
(b) Toe drains and degree of turbidity and rate of flow with
(c) Outlet works control house, tunnel, and gate chamber;
(d) Spillway structure;
(e) Obtain reservoir and tailwater elevations, prevailing
weather conditions, and any other facts believed to be
(5) Report findings to the supervisory office.
4. INCREASED LEAKAGE OR CHANGE IN APPEARANCE OF SEEPAGE
Information regarding the development of new springs, seeps, and
boggy areas should include such data as:
(2) Size of affected areas,
(3) Estimated discharge,
(4) Nature of the discharge (whether clear or cloudy water), and
(5) Reservoir and tailwater elevation.
Any upstream landslide that could move into the reservoir, rapidly
displacing large volumes of water, would be especially dangerous to
the dam. Landslides or potential landslides into the downstream
channel which may impound water should also be reported.
6. SEVERE STORMS
Information on severe storms should include personal observations
of storms, including heavy rainstorms, snowfall, high winds, torna-
does, etc. Data should include information pertinent to analyzing
Information regarding fire within or around the dam forest, or
range fires should include location, extent, possibility of fire
spreading, prevailing weather conditions, possible effects on
watershed areas, and any other facts believed to be pertinent.
Damtender should report all acts of vandalism to the supervisory
9. OIL AND HAZARDOUS CHEMICAL SPILLS
Special steps and reporting procedures are required in case of
spills. Spills should be reported immediately and special instruc-
10. FISH AND WILDLIFE
Any observations of fishkill, wildlife problems, or unusual
conditions affecting fish and wildlife should be reported immediately
to the next higher office by the damtender.
11. MAJOR ACCIDENTS
Because of company or agency liability and related problems, drown-
ings and major accidents at the dam or on the reservoir should be
reported to the supervisory office by the damtender with as many
details as possible.
GUIDE FOR PREPARING SECTION ON "EARTHQUAKES"
The emergency and unusual event procedures outline, for the most part,
the actions to be taken in,the event of an earthquake.
A statement of the dam's estimated stability under earthquake loading
should be included in the Operating Procedures.
The line of communication from a reporting seismic center to the super-
visor to the damtender should be clearly listed.
532 IRRIGATION AND DRAINAGE AND WATER RESOURCES
(6) Continue to inspect and monitor the facilities for at least
48 hours or as instructed by the supervising officer in event
unobservable or delayed damage occurs.
IF ALL COMMUNICATIONS FROM THE DAM ARE LOST, the damtender will use
the following checklist as a guide during an earthquake event:
(1) Inspect the dam as listed under item (4) above.
(2) Observe outlet works discharge as the conduit may be sheared
and flow may cause piping of the dam.
(3) Check to see if spillway gates can be operated.
(4) If failure is imminent, all measures which can be used to
reduce storage in reservoir should be used.
(5) Check for sloughs, slides, slumps, and other signs of distress
near dam abutments.
(6) Continue to try to contact supervisory office.
3. FLOODING Typical Instructions
A brief description of what conditions might occur at the dam in
the event of a maximum flood should be given here. If a situation
develops at the reservoir whereby flooding above the normal water
surface elevation appears imminent, damtending personnel shall
immediately contact the supervising office. Information to be
reported should include:
(1) Current reservoir water surface elevation;
(2) Observed rise rate of the water surface and/or inflow;
(3) Weather conditions in the vicinity--past, present, and
(4) The discharge condition of the river above and below the
(5) Known conditions at upstream or downstream dams and reservoirs.
Information regarding reservoir operation once the water surface
rises to the normal pool elevation may be found in the section on
IF ALL COMMUNICATIONS FROM THE DAM ARE LOST, the damtender will use
the following checklist as a guide during a major flood event:
(1) Check reservoir elevation--if above pool elevation, increase
discharge through spillway gates or outlet works, if possible.
(2) Check toe and abutments for any new seeps, any abnormal increasJ
in quantities or seepage, or any indication of muddy or silty
flow--if flow is in embankment and muddy, increase discharge.
(3) Check structural condition of concrete spillway such as
increased deflection, cracking, or other signs of distress,
and movement in fill adjacent to structures.
(4) Check for increase or decrease in normal seepage in access
tunnels and conduits for equivalent reservoir water surface.
(5) If increased releases are deemed necessary, releases should be
staged, if possible, so as to allow the river downstream to
(6) Check for sloughs, slides, slumps, and other signs of distress
near dam abutments.
(7) Continue to contact supervisory office.
The maximum Richter scale event and accompanying acceleration forces
(after which an inspection of the dam by an engineer or geologist is
necessary) should be designated.
Responsibility for information, inspection, reporting, and action should
be clearly designated.
GUIDE FOR PREPARING SECTION ON "DAILY OPERATIONS"
A section covering the daily duties of the damtender can be very impor-
tant, especially where the dam is isolated and it is a one-man operation.
This section should be complete enough so that a substitute person can
take the list in the Operating Procedures and carry on the day-to-day
GUIDE FOR PREPARING "GENERAL" SECTION
Directions for Traveling to Dam
This section should supply in detail all pertinent information on access
to the dam from readily identifiable points of origin under both normal
and emergency conditions. It should include such information as:
1. Description of both main and alternate routes of access to dam under
adverse conditions, and the nature of the routes (paved, gravel, etc.)
2. Discussion of availability and use of special equipment for access
(helicopter, snowmobiles, jeeps, etc.)
3. Location of nearest commercial airplane field.
Only up-to-date location maps should be placed in the Operating Proce-
dures. For multiple dam projects, it may be desirable to revise one
construction location map to show current access routes to several dams.
Assignment of Responsibility
This section should identify as clearly as possible all areas of respon-
sibility and the chain of command with respect to dam and reservoir
operation and maintenance. It should specifically identify the dam-
tender's responsibilities. It may be appropriate to include here a
summary list of his duties. General areas or responsibilities of the
supervisory officer, including engineering support, should also be
This section should describe what organization, unit, or position is
responsible for each of the following functions:
(1) operation of the equipment in the structures .at the dam- (2) fore-
casting reservoir inflows; (3) directing flood releases (allowing
surcharge); (4) directing water releases; (5) recording reservoir data;
(6) various maintenance work- etc. This section must be very specific
in identifying the individual office which makes the decision, especially
Revisions to Operating Procedures
The revision of an Operating Procedure is the responsibility of the
owner of the dam. Formal procedures should be established for revising
Operating Procedures. Periodically, reviews should be conducted to
insure that the instructions in the established Operating Procedures are
being observed by operating personnel. Deviations discovered should be
studied, and either the operating practices be changed to conform to the
instructions in the Operating Procedures or the Operating Procedures be
revised to reflect existing practices. As a note of caution, procedures
and instructions that are based on engineering concepts,,directives, O&M
concepts visualized during design and construction, hydrology, or seis-
mology should not be revised without adequate engineering supervision.
IRRIGATION AND DRAINAGE AND WATER RESOURCES
Each copy of the Operating Procedures should show the dates of all
revisions thereto. Various ways can be devised to accomplish this, but
one is to insert a revision sheet in front of the Operating Procedures
where the revision and date can be listed. All pages in the Operating
Procedures and all later additions or revisions should be numbered and
Distribution of Operating Procedures
The responsibility for distributing Operating Procedures and related
supporting documents should be specified. Distribution should be based
on operating, maintenance, and supervisory needs only.
All copies of Operating Procedures must be kept up to date; therefore, a
record must be kept of their location. It is recommended that this
record be kept in the Operating Procedures itself to be sure that revised
sheets are furnished to all copyholders. It is also important to identify
and show in the Operating Procedures the distribution of all supporting
All restricted areas within or surrounding the dam and reservoir should
be outlined by map and/or description. Purposes of the restrictions and
the barriers and/or signs installed to keep out unauthorized persons
should be explained. The responsibilities of the damtender, the operating
agency, the project office, and/or other concerned agencies in posting,
patrolling, and enforcing the restriction should be stated.
Cooperation With Agencies
This section should identify the administrative and operational relation-
ships between the operating organization and other agencies, government
Formal agreements with other companies and agencies should be referenced
in this section, and a brief summary of the terms of the agreement
relating to reservoir operation included. Informal agreements with
other companies or agencies should also be briefly explained.
Supporting and Supervisory Documents
These include all of the documents, other than the Operating Procedures,
which comprise the necessary instructions for all phases and levels of
responsibility in the operation and care of the dam and reservoir.
Documents incorporated into the Operating Procedures should be con-
sidered part of the Operating Procedures rather than supporting documents'
This section of the Operating Procedures should specifically list each
supporting or supervisory document that is part of the instructions for
total operation and maintenance of the dam and reservoir.
Where only a relatively small portion of a publication contains pertinent
O&M instructions, such instructions should be included in the Operating
The number and contents of supporting documents will vary from dam to
dam and may include some or all of the following kinds of instructions:
Designers' Operating Criteria
Flood Control Regulation
Flood Control Reservoir Regulation Report
Flood forecasting and operating criteria
Basin or river operating plan
Powerplant operating instructions
Interagency operating agreements
Major maintenance procedures
Reservoir Management Plan (recreation and fish and wildlife)
Manufacturers' drawings and instructions
Design and Construction Report
Others as found appropriate.
GUIDE FOR PREPARING SECTION ON "INSTRUMENTATION"
How much the section on Instrumentation spells out in this area will
depend upon the dam itself. However, if there are readings or data to
be gathered the Operating Procedures should spell out in detail:
Type of instrumentation
Interval of readings
Who will make readings
Transmittal of data
Responsibility of analysis
Transmittal of findings for action, if necessary.
GUIDE FOR PREPARING SECTION ON "STRUCTURAL, MECHANICAL, AND ELECTRICAL"
This section of the Operating Procedures, in combination with the Design-
ers' Operating Criteria where available, should contain a general descrip-
tion and the detailed operating and maintenance instructions for the
dam, hydraulic structures, and all mechanical and electrical equipment
related thereto. The descriptive information and instructions should be
similar to, but may not be as comprehensive as, the information and
instructions for similar structures and equipment given in a Designers'
Coordination With Designers' Operating Criteria
At dams for which a Designers' Operating Criteria has not been prepared,
the description and instructions in the Operating Procedures should be
complete in themselves. The kinds of instructions that should be included
under each heading and the amount of detail to be used in explaining the
instructions will vary according to the complexity of the equipment.
However, the instructions should agree with the actual operation in
effect at the structures. Drawings and photographs snowing the existing
installation should be included to facilitate understanding the
At dams having a current Designers' Operating Criteria, these will be
maintained with the Operating Procedures as companion operating documents.
Circumstances and conditions at the structure and its supervisory offices
should be considered in determining which operating instructions should
be repeated, clarified, or expanded in the Operating Procedures. As a
minimum, the Operating Procedures should include all operating instruc-
tions which pertain directly to the safe operation of the structure
during floods and other emergencies. All other instructions in the
Designers' Operating criteria, which are considered adequate for use in
the Operating Procedures, should be included in the Operating Procedures
by inclusion or reference to the Designers' Operating Criteria. Drawings
in the Designers' Operating Instructions may serve as reference drawings
for both documents. Where Designers' Operating Instructions are included
in the Operating Procedures by reference, the use of photographs identi-
fying valves, levers, switches etc., in the terminology used in the
Designers' Operating Criteria is recommended.
The instructions discussed in this section can be applied to a large
number of storage dams. The use of this section as a checklist in the
preparation of Operating Procedures is suggested in order to insure that
these instructions are included in the Operating Procedures or Designers'
Operating Criteria where applicable.
Overtopping spillway radial gates. Almost all spillway radial
gates have not been designed to support an appreciable flow of
536 IRRIGATION AND DRAINAGE AND WATER RESOURCES
water over the top. Explicit operating instructions which prohibit
the release of water over the tops of spillway radial gates should
be given in the Operating Procedures operation section for each
spillway having radial gates not so designed.
Multiple gate setting. Optimum stilling basin operating conditions
are produce wnen the flow of water is uniformly distributed across
the chute as it enters the basin. Hydraulic control structures
having more than one control gate produce uniformly distributed
flow into their stilling basins when all gates are opened equally.
When all gates cannot be opened equally, the most desirable flow
pattern is usually produced by equally opening gates located symme-
trically about the centerline of the structure. Unless specific
information is available to the contrary, either the Designers'
Operating Criteria or the Operating Procedures should contain
specific operating instructions requiring these patterns of gate
operation whenever practicable.
Minimum high-pressure gate settings. To prevent damage to the gate
lear and trame, nigh-pressure regulating gates should not be
operated for long periods of time at very small gate openings. The
more recent Designers' Operating Criteria establish this minimum
gate opening. For gates for which this minimum gate opening has
not previously been established, the Operating Procedures should
set a conservative minimum gate opening equal to the dimension of
the bottom of the gate leaf in the direction of flow unless special
conditions require further consideration of this limitation.
Outlet works drop inlet operation. Drop inlet outlet works have
been damaged wnlie operating witn only a shallow depth of flow over
the sill of the intake structure. The damage was caused by the
violent blowback of air and water from the shaft and conduit result-
ing from the pressure of air trapped in the conduit by the flowing
water. When the reservoir water surface falls below certain critical
elevations, a vortex is formed due to control of the rate of dis-
charge by the inlet sill rather than by the regulating gates or
valves and entrainment of air in the conduit results. Operating
instructions should be provided in either the Operating Procedures
or Designers' Operating Criteria for all outlet works with drop
inlets. Operating instructions in most of the Designers' Operating
Criteria of recent years have established these critical elevations.
Operating instructions for drop outlet works where limiting operating
criteria is not available for inclusion in the Operating Procedures
may be obtained from the design engineer.
Operation of ventilation systems. Ventilating systems provide an
adequate fresh air supply in confined areas such as tunnels, con-
duits, galleries, and gate chambers* therefore, the Operating
Procedures or Designers' Operating Criteria should require starting
of the ventilation fan a sufficient time before entry to permit one
complete change of air.
Removal of rocks from chutes and basins. Medium- and large-size
rocKs do not wash out or stilling asins, even during large dis-
charges. Instead they are picked up by the swirling water and
pounded against the concrete walls and floor of the stilling basin,
causing much damage It is, therefore important to see that as
few rocks as poss ble are in the stilling basins during discharge
Since most rocks are thrown by people, the Operating Procedures
should require the maintenance of signs adjacent to chutes and
stilling basins prohibiting the throwing of rocks into them. The
Operating Procedures should also require that at least annually and
before release of water through the structures all rocks which can
be reached without draining the basin be removed from the chute and
basin. Schedules for examining and cleaning the stilling basins
should be stated in the Operating Procedures.
Performance Evaluation, Instrumentation, and Behavior Observations.
nme Uperating Procedures should define wnat instrumentation has
been installed to monitor the stress, pressure, and movement within
the structure, the schedule for collecting data from this instru-
mentation, and the distribution of such data. Supporting documents
containing instructions pertaining to dam behavior observations
should be referenced in this paragraph. If available, limits
defining the normal readings should be presented as a means of
alerting the personnel collecting and analyzing the data of unusual
information about the structure.
Dam Maintenance and Inspection
This section should record maintenance procedures pertaining to the dam,
its abutments, foundations, and adjacent areas. The clearing of trees
and large shrubbery from the slopes of an earth dam and the painting of
the tops of parapet walls on concrete dams are typical maintenance
procedures which should be included where appropriate. Regular inspection
schedules and requirements for inspection of the structure under special
conditions should be established. Features of the dam, abutments, and
adjoining areas requiring special attention and conditions and occur-
rences for which the examiner should be alert may be listed in this
Safety procedures are usually established by the operating agency and
State or Federal regulations. Many power system safety standards can
be applied to dams, and safety publications may be included in the
Operating Procedures by reference as a supporting document, although the
more directly applicable provisions can be included in this section. The
establishment of procedures for tagging equipment so that it will not be
operated during certain critical periods and the requirement for more
than one person to be in attendance during the performance of procedures
which entail considerable danger to the operator (such as inspection or
repair of conduits downstream from outlet gates) appear to be particularly
important. The identity, location, and telephone numbers of nearby
doctors, hospitals law enforcement organizations, ambulances and other
agencies or individuals who can give medical assistance should be listed
in the Communications Directory.
GUIDE FOR PREPARING SECTION ON "RESERVOIR OPERATIONS"
Reservoir Allocations and Capacity Tables
Current reservoir capacity allocations, if appropriate, should be
presented in the Operating Procedures.
The reservoir capacity table outlet works discharge curves, spillway
discharge curve, flood routing curves, and specific instructions should
be included in this section.
Design Flood Study and Routing
A description of the current reservoir inflow design flood must be
included in the Operating Procedures to give operating personnel some
general idea of the type and magnitude of the flood for which the dam,
spillway, and outlet works are considered adequate. The inflow design
flood should be identified by designating the month and year during
which the use of the described flood was approved for design or review
purposes. The description of the flood should include its volume,
duration peak inflow, and hydrograph drawing. A description of the
type of lood (rain, snowmelt, or combination thereof), the months of
the year during which it can occur, and the assumed antecedent hydrologic
conditions are helpful in support of some Operating Procedures and to
operating personnel when evaluating an actual or potential flood event.
This section should also contain a description of the assumptions used
in routing the flood through the reservoir including reservoir water
surface elevation at the beginning of the flood event; spillway gate
operation; outlet works release schedules; feeder canal operation;
stoplog removal schedules, and a statement of the resulting maximum
reservoir water surface elevation and peak spillway and outlet works
discharges, perferably including a hydrograph.
IRRIGATION AND DRAINAGE AND WATER RESOURCES
The following is a copy of a typical paragraph developed for use in a
recent Operating Procedure:
The hydrograph of a new inflow design flood, approved in
March 1967, and having a peak inflow of 82,000 cfs and a
7-day volume of 427,000 acre-feet is shown on plate
of the Appendix. This flood was based on the transposiTTon
and adjustment of the Warrick, Montana, storm of June 6,
1906. This storm was assumed to produce an average
rainfall over the entire 2,828 square-mile drainage basin
of 7 inches in 24 hours. The inflow design flood was
determined by adding the runoff resulting from this storm
to an assumed base flow of 1,000 cfs in the Milk River.
When routed through Fresno Reservoir, with the reservoir
water surface at spillway crest elevation 2,575.0 at the
beginning of the flood event and the outlet works discharging
2,200 cfs this new inflow design flood produces a maximum
water surface elevation of 2,592.8 and a maximum spillway
discharge of 62,000 cfs.
General Filling Schedule and Release Procedures
The general plan by which reservoir inflows are to be held and by which
stored water is to be released each year to accomplish the authorized
and incidental objectives of the project should be described in this
section. It should explain generally when water is stored in the reser-
voir and should point out all restrictions which exist on rates of fill
and drawdown, and limits defining downstream channel capacities. Special
instructions regarding the storage and release of water in the surcharge
or exclusive flood control space should be included here. The factors
governing reservoir releases for project purposes should also be discussed
in general terms. If the damtender is to receive specific instructions
each time gates are to be opened, closed, or reset, this section should
very specifically explain that fact. The section should list all estab-
lished requirements for releases such as maintenance of streamflows for
various purposes and flood control operations. All procedures pertaining
to reservoir operation should be identified in this section.
This section should include instructions and procedures for preparing,
both preceding and during runoff months, periodic estimates of reservoir
inflow volumes for the remainder of the runoff season. These estimates
provide a basis for planning reservoir and project operations prior to
and during the flood season and permit optimization and coordination of
water supply and other reservoir functions. It will also assist in
planning Operating Procedures consistent with operating criteria to
protect the dam and its appurtenant works against failures due to exces-
sive reservoir water levels and discharge rates. Such procedures are
mostly for reservoirs having snowmelt inflow. In some instancesshort-
term inflow forecasting procedures may be appropriate for reservoirs
having inflow from rainfall runoff.
The instructions and procedures should be described in the Operating
Procedures, or in a referenced supporting document, in sufficient detail
and completeness so that newly assigned personnel could be effective in
estimating inflow and fully implementing the procedures. Administrative,
as well as technical procedures, should be included. Administrative
procedures should include the identification of organizational segments
responsible for forecasting estimates and the related collection of data
and conversion of forecasts into operating plants. Technical procedures
should include: (1) information necessary for proper monitoring of
hydrometeorological stations; (2) the specific correlations, equations,
graphical tools, and analytical procedures to be used in forecasting
inflow; and (3) instructions on when forecasts are to be made under
If the Soil Conservation Service, Weather Bureau, or other agencies are
engaged to prepare inflow forecasts for a particular reservoir the
Operating Procedures should include a description of the procedures and
criteria used by that agency and instructions for operating personnel on
the procurement and use of such forecasts.
Development of inflow forecasting procedures is a continuing process
because correlations are subject to revision as more experience is
gained and more data become available. Hence, the instructions should
Include a requirement to annually reexamine the procedure in view of the
additional year of experience and data and to make revisions and improve-
ments where the need is indicated. The Bureau of Reclamation publication
"Multiple Correlation in Forecasting Seasonal Runoff" dated June 1959
may be helpful in this regard.
Flood Operating Criteria
The purpose of this section is to specify the dam and reservoir operations
* criteria and procedures to be followed preceding and during flood inflows
which are not appropriate for inclusion in sections on General Filling
Schedule and Release Procedures and on Inflow Forecasting. This section
should describe established flood control criteria preceding and during
flood inflow periods, including established constraints for downstream
flood control and those reservoir operating criteria needed for dam
safety. Flood control criteria and inflow forecasts provide the basis
for reservoir operation during the passage of flood inflows. Where the
reservoir has an authorized flood function, this section should make
reference to the specific Flood Control Regulations, Field Working
Agreements, and Reports on Reservoir Regulation prepared by the Corps of
Engineers and should state purposes and uses of these documents in the
This section should also provide adequate instructions to personnel
stationed at the dam so they will be able to operate the dam and reservoir
safely and effectively during flood periods when communications with
responsible supervisory offices are interrupted for an extended period.
Special Reporting During Flood or High Water Conditions
Because of the importance of timely and accurate reporting during flooding
periods, comprehensive instructions on information required from personnel
at the dam during these periods should be outlined in this section for
ready reference. Instructions should establish when initial reports are
to be made, to whom reports shall be made, and what items should be
reported. Presumably further reporting procedures will be established
during the first report. If this is not intended, times and data for
all reports should be established in the Operating Procedures.
Limits on Filling and Drawdown
This section of the Operating Procedures should record all special
limits on rates and ranges of reservoir filling and drawdown that have
been established because of landslides or other geologic conditions in
the reservoir and for earth dams because of stability requirements for
the dam. If no special limits have been established, this section
should so state. Reasons for the restrictions should be provided.
Requirements for special reporting or obtaining advance approval, when
for any reason established limits must be exceeded, should also be
Prevention of Water Pollution by Oil
Primary causes of water pollution by oil at reservoirs are commercial
pipeline breaks and spillage. Plans for prevention and control of oil
pollution commensurate with conditions at the dam and in the drainage
basin should be presented in this section.
Fish and Wildlife Considerations
This section should reference all contracts and agreements with other
agencies for the benefit of fish and wildlife. This section should also
explain what requirements, if any, these agreements place upon dam and
reservoir operation. Such requirements might include minimum water
surface elevations, reservoir levels during specified periods of the
year, and minimum reservoir release rates.
IRRIGATION AND DRAINAGE AND WATER RESOURCES
Recreation Management Plan
This section should state whether or not a recreation management plan
has been established for the reservoir area. If a plan has been estab-
lished, the section should identify the agreement establishing the plan,
indicate the agency responsible for the operation of the plan, and state
how, if at all, the plan affects reservoir operation.
Hydropower Release Criteria
For reservoirs serving as powerplant forebays, this section should state
the basic criteria used in determining the timing and quantity of hydro-
power releases, and should indicate the relationship of power releases
to other reservoir operating functions and release criteria. Where the
only reservoir function is the production of power or where the reservoir
is one of a group of interrelated reservoirs whose operation is coor-
dinated to maximize production of power ina manner consistent with
operation for other authorized project purposes these criteria may best
be included by reference to appropriate supporting documents developed
in relation to power operations.
Operating Criteria for Other Functions
This section may include, where appropriate, discussions of reservoir
operating criteria for downstream pollution abatement, for structure
protection during certain periods of the year, or for control of silt
position in the reservoir.
Landslide surveillance procedures should be established for reservoirs.
Procedures should require the identification by a geologist of landslide
areas and the schedule of observations and reports. All information and
instructions relating to landslides and landslide surveillance should be
given in this section. Reporting instructions relative to landslides
should be presented in the section on data and unusual occurrence report-
ing and referenced in this section.
1. Bureau of Reclamation, Mid-Pacific Region, Sacramento, California,
"Standing Operating Procedures for Earthquake Reporting,"
2. Bureau of Reclamation, Denver, Colorado, "Guide for Preparation of
Standing Operating Procedures," October 1971.
3. Dept. of the Army Office of the Chief of Engineers, "Recommended
Guidelines for Safety Inspection of Dams," Washington, D.C., 1975.
4. National Research Council Nat'l Academy of Sciences, "A Review of
the Program of the USBR for the Safety of Existing Dams," Washington
5. General Accounting Office, "Actions Needed to Increase the Safety
of Dams Built by the USBR and Corps of Engineers" report to the
Comptroller General, June 3, 1977.
6. Bureau of Reclamation Review Team "Report on the Bureau of Reclama-
tion Safety Review," Denver, Colorado, August 1977.
7. Bureau of Reclamation, "Standing Operating Procedures Jamestown
Dam," January 1978.
8. Bureau of Reclamation, "Multiple Correlation in Forecasting Seasonal
Runoff," Denver, Colorado, June 1959.
INSTITUTIONAL CONCERNS: THE DELAWARE EXPERIENCE
SBy Robert E. Fish, 1 F. ASCE and Francis T. Schaefer, 2 F. ASCE
Water resources of the Delaware River basin remained virtu-
ally undeveloped until 1925, except for withdrawals for local water
supplies and small impoundments for mills and resorts. In 1925,
two reservoirs and hydroelectric plants were completed marking
the beginning of major water-resources management in the basin.
Also in 1925, negotiations began among representatives of New
York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania for allotting Delaware River
water. Those negotiations, and two later ones, failed ratification
by the State legislatures.
A unilateral effort at water-supply development by New York
City in 1929 was halted by the States through an action in the U. S.
Supreme Court. A decree handed down by the Court in 1931 per-
mitted limited diversions and required releases from reservoirs
that were to be constructed. The Amended Decree of the U.S.
Supreme Court in 1954 provided for increased diversions to the
city, for diversions to New Jersey, and required releases from
the city reservoirs to maintain stipulated flows for downstream ri-
parians. The Amended Decree set forth the Montague Release
Formula by which the prescribed flows were to be calculated, and
established a River Master to supervise and direct the diversions
In 1961, a Federal-Interstate compact was signed that placed
regulations on virtually all water resources except for those cov-
ered by the Amended Decree and for some intended for domestic
use. The 1961 compact established the Delaware River Basin
Commission consisting of the Governors of the signatory States and
one Commissioner appointed by the President of the United States.
The Commission was given broad powers to effectuate plans, poli-
1 Deputy Delaware River Master, U. S. Geological Survey, Milford, Pa.
2 Delaware River Master, U. S. Geological Survey, National Center,
IRRIGATION AND DRAINAGE AND WATER RESOURCES
cies, and projects relating to the water resources of the basin.
The Commission, however, was specifically enjoined from inter-
fering with the diversion and release requirements of the 1954 Su-
preme Court Decree except in an emergency resulting from a
drought or catastrophe. By signing the compact, each signatory
state relinquished for the duration of the compact, 100 years, its
right to apply for a modification of the terms of the decree.
In recent years, public pressures developed for increased re-
leases from the reservoirs to modify stream conditions in the
reaches below the dams. As a result, New York State passed a
law in 1976 which purports to empower the Commissioner, New
York Department of Environmental Conservation, with authority to
regulate releases and rates of change of releases from the reser-
voirs. This has led to further legal and operational complexities.
The importance of the Delaware River can be overemphasized
but seldom is. One may stand and gaze at its scenic vistas, labor
in steel mills upon its shore, paddle a canoe through its pools and
white-water reaches, and in many cities in its basin and in New
York City which is in the Hudson River basin, drink its waters.
Major uses of the water of the Delaware River include municipal
water supply, hydroelectric power generation, industrial supply,
cooling, navigation, irrigation, all forms of water-oriented recre-
ation, suppression of seawater incursion, and pollution abatement.
The Delaware River basin has an area of 12, 760 mi2 (square
miles) or 33, 050 km2 (square kilometers) of the contiguous parts
of Delaware, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania (fig. 1).
Its area is about 0.4 percent of the area of the conterminous Unit-
The population of the basin is estimated at 7, 500, 000. Popu-
lation concentration varies from sparse in the northern woodlands
to dense in the Philadelphia metropolitan area. New York City
lies 40 miles east of the basin and obtains approximately 48 per-
cent of its municipal water supply by diversions from the northern
tributaries of the basin. If it may be assumed that these diver-
sions supply 48 percent of New York City's peoples, an equivalent
of some 4,000,000 are served. In New Jersey, an equivalent of
about 300, 000 outside the basin receive water by another diversion.
Altogether, the equivalent of approximately 12, 000, 000 people, 5 per-
cent of the population of the country, obtain all their water from
the Delaware River basin.
. THE DELAWARE EXPERIENCE
MImyAKlA ^ v / V tn0 C
C & D CANAL
SIIIIIII Major Impoundments
39 Flood-control Project
m0 0 10 20 30 40 50 MILES
S10 20 30 40 50 KILOMETERS
0 10 20 30 40 50 KILOMETERS
Figure 1. Map of Delaware River basin showing
major uses of water resources
IRRIGATION AND DRAINAGE AND WATER RESOURCES
When Europeans came to the Delaware, they found the basin
supplying the natives with water, food, recreation, and transpor-
tation. The immigrants enlarged upon those uses and added innu-
merable ponds and mills on the smaller streams. As an example
of those commercial efforts, there were six mills within the bor-
ough limits of Milford, Pa. Logging began in 1764. Several in-
terstate shallow-draft barge canals were constructed in the early
1800's. Tourists from the urban areas of New York and Phila-
delphia became attracted to the lakes and mountains of the northern
area of the basin. A small hydroelectric plant was built on the
Neversink River in 1900. Except for those uses and for local
water supplies, the water resources of the basin remained virtually
undeveloped until 1925.
Lake Wallenpaupack and its hydroelectric plant on Lackawaxen
River were completed and placed in operation in 1925. Toronto
Reservoir hydroelectric station on Mongaup River began operations
in 1926 as the first of a series of powerplants in that basin. Plans
of New York City for a Delaware system of water supply were ini-
tiated in 1925, but the first stage of the water supply was not de-
veloped for many years.
QUEST FOR DELAWARE RIVER WATER
During the quest for water for New York City, water supplies
of high quality were sought that could be obtained by gravity. Of
the older supplies, the Croton System was completed in 1911 and
the Catskill System in 1927. When development of additional
sources was considered for the time when the older systems would
become inadequate to meet increasing demands, the Delaware Riv-
er basin was believed to offer the best source. The original plans
provided for diversions of 440 mgd (million gallons per day) or
19.28 m3/s (cubic meters per second) from Neversink and East
Branch Delaware Rivers and 160 mgd (7.01 m3/s) from other
streams of the basin. A suggestion for diversions from Never-
sink River had been made as early as 1900.
The proposed diversion of waters of the Delaware River was
a matter of interest and concern to all States of the basin. In an
effort to resolve the problem, New York, New Jersey and Pennsyl-
vania entered into negotiations for the apportionment of waters of
the Delaware River. In 1925 and again in 1927, representatives of
the three States agreed upon compacts which were ratified only by
the Legislature of New York. After the unsuccessful attempts to
negotiate compacts, New York City proceeded with plans to con-
struct reservoirs and aqueducts of the proposed Delaware System
THE DELAWARE EXPERIENCE
and to divert such waters to its urban use. In May 1929, New
Jersey filed in the U.S. Supreme Court its original bill of com-
plaint seeking to enjoin the State and the City of New York from
diverting water from the Delaware River basin. Later, Pennsyl-
vania became a party to the suit by intervention.
After two years of litigation before a Special Master, the Su-
preme Court ordered the entry of a decree on May 25, 1931. The
provisions of the decree were based upon the doctrine of equitable
apportionment. As Mr. Justice Holmes wrote at the time, and
which is oft-quoted, "A river is more than an amenity, it is a
treasure. It offers a necessity of life that must be rationed among
those who have power over it. Among other things, the decree
permitted the State of New York and the City of New York to divert
water from the Delaware River or its tributaries. The diversion
was limited to the equivalent of 440 mgd (19.28 m3/s). The de-
cree also required that a plant for the treatment of sewage and in-
dustrial waste be constructed at Port Jervis, N.Y., and that com-
pensatory releases from the impounding reservoirs of as much as
305. 5 cfs (cubic feet per second) or 8. 65 m3/s be made to the Del-
aware River under certain conditions. The decree further provided
that any of the parties might apply for further action and the Su-
preme Court retained jurisdiction of the suit. Diversion did not
begin until January 1, 1953.
New York City water consumption increased to unprecedented
rates in the years 1944-48, attaining an average rate in 1949 of
more than 1,200 mgd (52.6 m3/s). In four of those years, the
consumption exceeded the dependable yield of all the city's sources,
but the needed water was supplied by heavy precipitation and by
means of emergency measures. Evidence was at hand that within
the next 20 years the city would need more water than could be
supplied by the addition to its water-supply system of reservoirs on
Rondout Creek, a tributary of Hudson River, and Neversink and
East Branch Delaware Rivers. To cope with the anticipated water
shortage, the New York City Board of Water Supply in January1949
began investigation of possible additional sources of supply. As a
result of the investigation, development of West Branch Delaware
River and construction of an impounding reservoir near Cannons-
ville, N.Y., were recommended.
Concurrent with anticipation of needs in New York City, it be-
came apparent in the downstream States that areas of both the low-
er Delaware River basin and of northeastern New Jersey would
need additional water supplies within a few years. Consequently,
another attempt was made by the States to solve the interstate
water problem by a compact. The Interstate Commission on the
Delaware River Basin, a joint advisory board known as INCODEL,
IRRIGATION AND DRAINAGE AND WATER RESOURCES
was established to formulate and recommend integrated programs
for the development of the water resources of the basin.
The compact recommended in 1950 by INCODEL was adopted,
with some reservations, by Delaware, New Jersey, and New York;
Pennsylvania, however, rejected it.
With the new compact thus stalled, New York City instituted on
April 1, 1952, a proceeding for modification of the 1931 decree.
The Supreme Court ordered that (1) the petition by New York City
for modification of the 1931 decree, (2) a memorandum of the State
of New York, and (3) answers to the petition by the State of New
Jersey and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania be referred to Kurt
F. Pantzer, of Indianapolis, Ind., as a Special Master, for con-
sideration of the issues and report to the Court. After the formal
hearings began, the State of Delaware was permitted to intervene.
As a result of the proceedings, the Court entered its Amended De-
cree of June 7, 1954.
Two significant modifications of the 1931 decree found in the
Amended Decree concerned diversions and release requirements at
New York City reservoirs. New York City was permitted to in-
crease diversions from the equivalent of 440 mgd (19.28 m3/s) to
S the equivalent of 800 mgd (35.05 m3/s) upon the completionof Can-
nonsville Reservoir. The modification concerning releases was em-
bodied in what was called the Montague Formula, which at times
would require compensating releases from the reservoirs signifi-
cantly larger than the releases required by the 1931 decree. The
Amended Decree established the position of River Master and spec-,
ified that the diversions and releases by the city would be made
under his supervision and direction.
As specified in the Decree, the release works of thethreeres-
ervoirs were to be of such capacity as would provide a minimum
aggregate release capacity of not less than 1,600 cfs (45.3 m3/s)
under conditions of maximum depletion. Cannonsville Reservoir
was completed in 1967.
The Decree also provided that New Jersey might divert 00mgd
(4. 38 m3/s) without compensatory releases.
ROLE OF THE RIVER MASTER
The Amended Decree states that diversions and releases of
water shall be made under the supervision and direction of the
River Master. He is also assigned the authority and responsibility
for conservation of the waters of the basin and in the New York
City reservoirs or any which may be constructed by other parties
THE DELAWARE EXPERIENCE
to the Decree.
Much of the work of the River Master centers upon the design
of releases from the reservoirs under the Montague Formula pre-
scribed by the Decree. The drainage area of Delaware River at
Montague, N.J., is 3,480 mi2 (9,013 km2). The Decree provides
that the minimum basic rate of flow at Montague shall be 1, 750 cfs
(49. 56 m3/s). There is an additional rate, based upon what is
called the "excess quantity". The excess quantity is equal to
83 percent of the amount by which the estimated consumption for
the year is less than the continuous safe yield of all the City's
sources obtainable without pumping. The safe yield was specified
as 1,665 mgd (72.94 m3/s) after Cannonsville Reservoir was put
in operation. The drought of the 1960's showed, however, that the
safe yield figure is much too optimistic for an extreme drought.
The quantity is to be released, starting June 15 of each year, at a
rate designed to release the entire amount in 120 days, and is sub-
ject to certain other qualifications. For the release period start-
ing June 15, 1978, the design rate would be 1,970 cfs (55. 8 m3/s)
at Montague. Water released from Pepacton Reservoir, the res-
ervoir farthest upstream from Montague, has a transit time of
approximately 60 hours before the effect is evident at the Montague
gaging station. Therefore, daily design must be prepared three
days in advance. The design considers the amount of flow from
the uncontrolled portion of the basin by means of index stations,
an additional increment of flow from forecasted precipitation on the
uncontrolled area, and forecasts of releases of water from two
hydroelectric power company reservoirs in the upper basin. Any
indicated deficiency with respect to the rate specified in the Decree
for Montague is satisfied by a release of water from New York City
reservoirs in the basin. Figure 2 shows the several components of
the hydrograph at Montague.
In recent years, public pressures developed for increased re-
leases from the reservoirs to improve stream conditions in the
reaches downstream from the dams. Along one river there were
requests for abatement of pollution caused by towns and resorts;
there was a general call for improvement of fishing; and canoeists
agitated for faster streams and fewer portages. Individuals and
organized groups addressed their wants to the New York State Leg-
islature. As a result, New York passed a law in 1976 which pur-
ports to empower the Commissioner, New York Department of En-
vironmental Conservation, with authority to relate releases from
all reservoirs over 1 billion gallons (3.8 x 10" m3) storage capa-
The Department proposed numerous regulations for reservoirs
including higher conservation releases from New York City reser-
5 10 15 20 25 31 5 10 15 20 25 31 5 10 15 20 25 30 5 10 15 20 25 31 5 10 15 20 25
JULY AUGUST SEPTEMBER OCTOBER NOVEMBER
N.Y.C. 2.50 BG N.Y.C. 13.44 BG N.Y.C. 32.74 BG N.Y.C. 27.61 BG N.Y.C. 2.14 BG
POWER 22.68 BG POWER 1428 BG POWER 2.19 BG POWER 390 BG POWER 20.98 BG
UNCONT. 1140 BG UNCONT. 21.05 G UNCONT. 10.01 BG UNCONT. 15.16 BG UNCONT. 19939 BG
TOTAL 139.58 BG TOTAL 48.77 BG TOTAL 44.94 BG TOTAL 46.67 BG TOTAL 222.51 BG
Figure 2. Components of flow, Delaware River at Montague, N.J., 1972
..~-.- c~ -....,
THE DELAWARE EXPERIENCE
voirs based upon studies that showed yields were sufficient in some
9 of 10 years. The City immediately objected on the basis that its
reservoir yields were not sufficient for municipal requirements dur-
ing severe droughts, which are unpredictable. After lengthy dis-
cussions, the River Master introduced a Memorandum of Agreement
for a temporary redistribution of the excess quantity among the sev-
eral reservoirs for study purposes, as agreed to by the parties to
the Decree. The redistribution provided higher conservation rates
on days when the River Master was not designing releases expressly
for the Montague Formula. It also provided for higher releases for
the relief of thermal stress in the fisheries. Figure 3 shows the
rates of the Montague Formula and reservoir releases. The tem-
porary plan affords the Department an opportunity from June 1977
to May 1979 to investigate and evaluate stream reaches during high-
er conservation rates of releases.
The U. S. Army Corps of Engineers submitted a "308 report"of
preliminary studies of the Delaware River to the Congress in 1933.
The report indicated that developments for flood control were not
economically justified at that time.
Following the record-breaking flood of 1955, the Congress
called for a review of earlier reports. The Corps of Engineers es-
tablished the Delaware Basin Survey Coordinating Committee com-
posed of representatives of 43 Federal, State and local agencies
having large interests in the water resources of the basin. Input
from those agencies resulted in a comprehensive report, House
Document 522, outlining plans for the development of the water re-
sources. From 193 major projects considered, 19 were selected
for major control projects. From those selected, 8 were recom-
mended for construction within 30 years. Some of these and other
important reservoir projects are shown in figure 4. Two reser-
voirs, chiefly for flood control, were completed. Another 39 small
projects were included in the plan, although their construction could
be accomplished through other agencies.
The Tocks Island site, the large multipurpose reservoir pro-
posed on the main stem, was authorized but not funded for con-
struction because of the opposition that developed later from various
sources. The project is, of course, the most prominent element
of the comprehensive plan. Studies by the Corps of Engineers,
and others, leave little doubt that this undertaking is a keyelement
in the future water-supply scheme of this important area of the north-
east part of the United States and therefore of the nation.
Streamflow Requirements under U.S. Supreme Court Decree for Delaware River at Montague, NJ.
EXCESS RELEASE RATE
MINIMUM BASIC RATE
Releases from Pepacton, Cannonsville, and Neversink Reservoirs
Minimum rates under New York State Decree
- -- Temporary conservation releases under
S River Master Memorandum of Agreement
I -------- ---------
JAN FEB MAR APR MAY JUNE JULY AUG SEPT OCT NOV DEC
Figure 3. Requirements for minimum flow of Delaware River at Montague, N.J., and
for minimum releases from reservoirs of upper basin
-- -~ C~----- ~~ __~_~_ -- -
THE DELAWARE EXPERIENCE
( ) p Tocks Island
SI 0 Beltzville*
NAL 5 Hackettstown
S Maiden Creek
1 Blue Marsh*
0 10 20 30 40 50 MILES *constructed
0 10 20 30 40 50 KILOMETERS
Figure 4. Map of Delaware River basin showing
major water-supply projects
552 IRRIGATION AND DRAINAGE AND WATER RESOURCES
In January 1961 the Delaware River Basin Advisory Committee,
composed of representatives of the four States and two major cities,
drew up and proposed an interstate-federal compact to plan, devel-
op, and control the waters of the basin. The States ratified the
compact, the Congress consented subject to certain reservations,
and it was signed by the President in October 1961. By signing the
compact, each signatory state relinquished for the duration of the
compact, 100 years, its right to apply for a modification of the
terms of the Decree. The City of New York, which is a party to
the Court Decree, is not a party to the compact.
The compact established a Commission composed of the gover-
nors of the four States and a representative appointed by the Presi-
dent. The compact conferred broad powers on the Commission to ef-
fectuate plans, policies, and projects in water supply, pollution
control, flood protection, watershed management, recreation, and
hydroelectric power. The Commission, however, was specifically
bound against interference with the diversion and release require-
ments of the 1954 Court Decree, except in an emergency resulting
from a drought or catastrophe. The Commission developed a com-
prehensive plan in 1962 to include projects proposed by the Corps
of Engineers and others as the needs developed. Amendments are
added to the plan to include all water-related projects that are con-
sistent with the purpose of the Commission.
In water supplies, the Commission urged close examination of
needs and conservation along with development. In water-quality
control, the Commission developed standards, allocations, and
abatements, which in some cases would require tertiarytreatment.
In flood control, the Commission continued efforts on structuralmeas-
ures, enlisted U. S. Geological Survey cooperation in flood-plain map-
ping, and set forth flood-plain development regulations. In the
energy field, the Commission required power companies to develop
a master-siting plan, which provided information on future expan-
sion of generating facilities and related water-supply needs. Amid
the rising opposition to the construction of the Tocks Island pro-
ject, the Commission was instrumental in obtaining $1, 500, 000
from Congress for an examination of alternative measures by con-
During the extremely severe drought of the 1960's, with the
parties to the Decree deadlocked over methods to allocate water sup-
plies, the Commission, after a public hearing and consultation with
the River Master, as stipulated in the compact, declared an emer-
gency, July 7, 1965, and temporarily set diversions and releases
from New York City reservoirs and ordered daily releases from
THE DELAWARE EXPERIENCE
power reservoirs. Shortly thereafter, a Drought Disaster for the
basin was declared by the President. The emergency status and
the President's disaster area designation were withdrawn March 15,
1967, after rains replenished the supplies.
The most recent complication arises over the Federal proposal
to designate the middle reach of the Delaware as a Wild and Scenic
River. The reach extends from Port Jervis, N.Y., to the Dela-
ware Water Gap and includes the site of the proposed Tocks Island
dam. If this designation becomes official it will be virtually im-
possible to construct a dam or make any other changes in the
reach environment in the future. Pennsylvania wishes to keep its
options open for the construction of additional impoundments as
needs increase. Accordingly, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
and the City of Philadelphia have brought suit against the President
of the United States, the Secretary of the Interior, and others, to
enjoin the proposed designation. Pennsylvania has further advised
the States of New Jersey and New York that if it fails in its motion
- it will attempt to reopen the Amended Decree of 1954.
This paper has described the major legal and institutional
forces which affected, and continue to affect the development and
control of the water resources of the Delaware River basin.
As indicated, after the mid-1920's, the basin underwent a per-
iod of rapid development for water supply, power, flood control and
recreation for about 40 years. The outstanding engineering achieve-
ment of the period is the New York City system designed to divert
800 mgd (35.05 m3/s) to the City and to maintain a minimum flow
of 1,750 cfs (49.56 m3/s) of Delaware River at Montague, N.J.
This flow is considerably in excess of that which would occur nat-
urally during low-flow periods if the reservoirs did not exist.
It is apparent that the political and legal problems were, and
are, complex. The legal complexities that beset this river, which
provides water for at least 5 percent of the people of the United
States, continue to multiply.
IRRIGATION AND DRAINAGE AND WATER RESOURCES
Delaware River Basin Commission, Annual Report 1976,
Trenton, N.J., 1977.
Fish, R. E., 1961, River Master of the Delaware River,
G. G. Parker and others, Water Resources of the Delaware River
Basin: U.S. Geol. Survey Prof. Paper 381, p. 181-189.
Fish, R. E., Low-Flow Forecasting on the Delaware River,
Journal of the Irrigation and Drainage Division, ASCE. Vol. 94,
No. IR2, Proc. Paper 5978, June 1968, p. 223-232.
Henn, William F., The Mills of Milford, 1968, Pike County (Pa.)
Schaefer, F.T., and Fish, R.E., Report of the River Master of
the Delaware River, 1977, U.S. Geol. Survey.
Supreme Court of the United States, No. 5 Original October Term,
1950, New Jersey vs New York et al., Amended Decree, June 7,
U.S. Army Engineer District, Report on the Comprehensive Sur-
vey of the Water Resources of the, Delaware River Basin,
U.S. Geological Survey, 1903, Report of the Progress of Stream
Measurements for the Calendar Year 1902, U.S. Geol. Survey
Water-Supply and Irrigation Paper No. 82, p. 131.
Witmer, T.R. ed., Documents on the Use and Control of the
Waters of Interstate and International Streams, U.S. Dept. of the
Interior, Washington, D.C., 1968.
Stresses on Water Supply Systems and Management
Due to Adverse Weather Conditions
By Richard A. Smith,1 Member, ASCE
A properly planned and designed water supply system should be
expected to function perfectly under normal operating conditions.
It should also function well under adverse conditions. The only
way to know if a system will perform as planned and designed is
during a test under stress.
The recent two year drouth followed by the very wet year now
concluding has provided a nearly ultimate test of a large part of
the water supply systems in the westernstates. Millions of water
users and thousands of persons engaged in the management of water
supply systems have been under great stress. Specific illustrations
of stresses caused by adverse weather conditions in California will
be outlined in this paper together with some observations about the
associated legal, institutional and social aspects of water resources
In the stressful circumstances of the two year drouth, very real
cooperation, innovations and conservation efforts have helped to
alleviate the adverse impact. Public information materials were
widely disseminated through seminars, fair exhibits, schools and news
releases. Substantial use reductions resulted, even in areas with
adequate water supplies from alternate sources. These reductions
will continue to accumulate.
The public information effort was central in the news because
of widespread individual interest and concern, resulting in an
extraordinary level of public understanding and support for effective
water supply systems. Despite this, however, California'a voters
have since enacted a constitutional referendum which eliminates the
financing of public projects by general obligation bonds to be
serviced from real estate taxes. It appears that any future water
supply projects will have to be financed by pay-as-you-go user fees.
Water statesmanship was evident in many individual and institu-
tional sharing arrangements. Neighbors helped each other and water
exchanges occurred on a broad scale. System interties were added
to those already existing. Substitute uses were made from alterna-
tive sources, and there were delayed uses from flowing water sources
by a shift to stored surface and groundwater sources. Nevertheless,
in the drouth stress there were instances of heated quibbling over
1General Manager and Chief Engineer
United Water Conservation District
Santa Paula, CA 93060
556 IRRIGATION AND DRAINAGE AND WATER RESOURCES
priorities to the short supply in place of positive programs and
physical solutions. One celebrated case involved a developer who
began to fill a large aesthetic and recreation pond while the
drouth was at its nadir. He was outmaneuvered by the politicians,
but only temporarily.
The interruption of precipitation, although not statistically
improbable, produced much greater stress upon water supply systems
in the wetter portions of California. Water systems in the desert
and semi-desert areas had been planned and built to rely upon long-
term carryover storage, and so these were less affected. This
resulted in the strange paradox wherein the dry areas of California
were able to help to alleviate the drouth impact upon the ordinarily
Affluent Marin County, just north of San Francisco, became the
focal point of the drouth impact. Proposals for projects to provide
secure supplies of water had previously been scuttled by environ-
mental and no-growth forces. Aesop's fables and the profligate
grasshopper asking help from the provident ants were called to mind
during the drouth as an emergency pipeline was installed across
San Francisco Bay to bring water to that badly stricken area.
Affluent Monterey County was similarly stricken, and for the same
environmental and no-growth reasons.
Water was closely rationed in Marin County, in Monterey, in
San Francisco and in other areas with sharply increasing use rates.
There was an attending logical impact which had not been anticipated
by the laymen or their elected officials. Water rate increases were
necessary to offset revenue reductions associated with reductions
in water use. Also, the stress on the water supply systems produced
added costs for overtime and extra help, for emergency connections,
for the drilling of new wells, for special legal advice, for public
information programs, etc. Thus the customers were called upon to
get by with far less than comfortable amounts of water; and yet they
had to pay more than they had paid previously for a full supply.
In order to be able to assist areas like Marin County, the
Metropolitan Water District of Southern California imposed a form
of rationing upon its own customers and took delivery of additional
supplies from the Colorado River. Severe penalty assessments were
placed upon uses in excess of ninety percent of previous non-drouth
uses. The resulting reduction in use combined with sustained peak
flows in the Colorado River Aqueduct enabled the Metropolitan Water
District to drastically reduce its dependence upon the State Water
ADVERSE WEATHER CONDITIONS
Other agencies in Southern California including large municipal
water districts in San Bernardino, Riverside and Orange Counties
assisted in the rescue effort through a combination of use reduction
and greater dependence upon groundwater sources. The Los Angeles
Department of Water and Power maximized its production from the
Owens Valley. As a result of the foregoing the State Water Project
was able to meet the limited needs in Southern California by simply
Sdepleting terminal reservoir storage. This meant that the pumping
of water over the Tehachapi Mountains into Southern California was
discontinued for the duration of the drouth. As a result, great
volumes of Southern California entitlements to State Project water
were temporarily reallocated to areas of greater need in Northern
To further illustrate the interdependence of all of the water
supply systems in California, consider the case of the City of
Oxnard. Oxnard receives water from the Metropolitan Water District
to augment local supplies pumped from groundwater aquifers which
underly the Santa Clara River in Ventura County. Oxnard blends the
local, less expensive water averaging approximately 1100 mg/l with
more expensive State Project water delivered by the Metropolitan
Water District averaging approximately 300 mg/l to produce a
delivered mix ordinarily programmed at 500 mg/l. In order to
affectuate the requested local reductions the mix was reprogrammed
during the drouth to a higher mineral concentration and the users
were supplied with information and devices for reducing their use
Thus a combination of reduced use by Oxnard users and greater
depletion of groundwater reserves under the Santa Clara River
contributed to a reduction in Southern California's demand on
Northern California water sources so as to give material assistance
to areas under greater stress. This also illustrates the importance
to Northern California water users of groundwater reserves and other
Local supplies in Southern California plus water supplies imported
from the Colorado River and from the Owens Valley.
Another example of imaginative drouth spawned water exchange
innovations was the proposal, partly placed into effect, to make
the highest economic use of an agricultural quota of water. An
acre-foot of water has higher value for the production of long-
staple cotton in the Bakersfield area than for the production of
rice north of Sacramento. This is largely due to the high consump-
tive water use for rice production. The economic tradeoff led to
water exchange negotiations. However, a frantic well drilling
effort by water supply systems and by individual farms provided
most of the water needed to supplement other project water.
IRRIGATION AND DRAINAGE AND WATER RESOURCES
The stress imposed by the drouth upon water supply systems
manifested itself in depleted surface and groundwater storage.
This was especially bad in cases where mined water was replaced by
intruding salt water. However, one silver lining on that dark
cloud was the extraction and expulsion from many systems of salts
which had been concentrating. Furthermore, it turned out to be a
blessing to have used the stored water, thereby evacuating storage
space into which enormous volumes of otherwise wasting flood waters
were caught and conserved during the wet year which followed the
two dry years. This even includes wet year water diverted from
the San Francisco Bay Delta, conveyed through the State Project
aqueduct, and percolated into depleted Southern California ground-
water basins in a massive basin management operation.
Water supply systems and their management were also brought
under stress by the floods of the past wet year. Overtime and
extra help were needed to protect and operate facilities while the
rivers rampaged with great fluctuation in flow rates. Extra equip-
ment and Federal aid were needed in many instances to repair damage
caused by floods. But the stored floodwaters were of low dissolved
mineral content. And the economic value of the conserved water was
An illustration of water system management to alleviate flood
caused stress was the State Water Project pumping of floodwater
from the Kern River near Bakersfield. Flows in excess of the carry-
ing capacity of this river were beginning to inundate thousands of
acres of highly productive farmland in the ancient Tulare Lake bed.
As State Project pumps were being reactivated to lift conserved
floodwater over the Tehachapi Mountains into the depleted reservoirs
in Southern California, it was a splendid management technique for
the State Water Project to take water from the Kern River at reduced
total lift rather than from the San Francisco Bay Delta pumping
plant. Further, part of the water pumped from the Kern River was
conveyed northerly, backward through the State Water Project canal
system by use of some special pumps that were installed on an
Another water system management illustration occurred on two
tributaries to the Santa Clara River. In the State Water Project,
250,000 acre-foot Castaic Reservoir was nearly empty following the
drouth. It is connected by a thirty-two foot diameter tunnel to
Pyramid Reservoir, also part of the State Water Project, but at a
higher elevation. Pyramid Reservoir is on Piru Creek upstream from
Lake Piru which is operated by the United Water Conservation District.
The natural flows of Piru Creek, Castaic Creek and other tributaries
are managed by the District under License by the State Water
Resources Control Board for Santa Clara River groundwater basin
replenishment in a conjunctive maximum-yield operation.
ADVERSE WEATHER CONDITIONS
Because Lake Piru was nearly full and additional floods were
forecast, the local district requested the temporary storage of
floodwater in Castaic Reservoir and a sharing of the water that
might be conserved from wasting to the ocean. The district thus
temporarily set aside its right to all local flows from both creeks,
and the State Department of Water Resources (operator of the State
Water Project) obtained a temporary permit and issued a negative
environmental impact declaration.
During February, March and April more than 160,000 acre feet
of local floodwater was impounded. Of this it was agreed between
the parties that 30,000 would have percolated into the Santa Clara
River groundwater basins from the ocean bound flood flows, and
that amount was to be released for downstream use. The balance,
kept by the Department for sale to Water Project customers, turned
out to have value limited to the approximately $10 per acre-foot
net unit pumping cost which was avoided. This is because there
was plenty of water available with continuing rains.
The foregoing examples of the effect of short supply and
excess supply upon water supply systems and upon management
illustrate that great flexibility and resilience exists in both.
These qualities in systems and in management are more abundant,
however, where advance plans were far-reaching.
The value and price of water in California rose during the
drouth crises. However, this upward increment was doubtless
reduced by the subsequent year of water abundance.
The public may now have a better grasp of the fact that there
is a relationship between the availability and price of food and
the availability and price of water. Even the forces for no-growth
and environmental protection seem to concur that providing adequate
water supplies at reasonable prices for agriculture is desirable.
Agriculture seems to represent green belts to them, to be supplied
with water from the simplest possible local projects.
Nevertheless, no-growth notions seem to have grown firmer as
a result of both the drouth and the floods. Those who think that
way seem to view water supply additions with disfavor, to be
avoided simply by keeping people out by means of governmental and
institutional controls, including water supply control. However,
to those who think otherwise, support for needed water supply
projects has also grown firmer as a result of the dry and wet
In California there are legal minds who consider the existing
water rights law to be outmoded. The drouth triggered an open
questioning of the sacred doctrine of right to water as a property
right. The Governor has appointed a commission to study the law
and to recommend legislative changes. It is not known at this
time what the outcome will be.
IRRIGATION AND DRAINAGE AND WATER RESOURCES
In conclusion, there were unusual stresses upon water supply
systems and management due to adverse weather conditions during
the recent two year drouth and the subsequent year of flooding.
These stresses appear to have generally been well sustained.
Legal, institutional and social aspects of water resources manage-
ment have also been brought up for re-evaluation as a result of the
dry and wet crisis.
MANAGEMENT OF MARYLAND'S HYDROGEOLOGIC INFORMATION
by David A. Schultz1 and Ernest C. Rebuck,2 A.M. ASCE
Maryland has a comprehensive water resources management program,
which includes statewide regulatory authorities for water appropriation
and well construction. An important feature of this program is to
collect and store water resources data. This paper describes the types
of hydrogeologic information that are collected, the institutional
mechanisms that are used, and how the information is applied in water
supply planning and regulatory activities.
Although all rural areas and most small communities in Maryland
rely on groundwater supplies, groundwater presently is considered an
underutilized water supply source. The reasons for underutilization
of groundwater include:
1. Available surface water supply sources throughout much of
2. Lack of hydrogeologic experience among consultants who design
community water supply systems.
3. The high cost of conducting needed hydrogeologic studies.
4. Misunderstanding-of groundwater yield and quality by local
water supply agencies that develop water supply measures.
5. Inadequate water supply planning and evaluation of water supply
alternatives from an economic and environmental perspective.
Because water supply demands will continue increasing, consideration
of all water supply sources including groundwater is needed. Improved
management of hydrogeologic data should help to overcome existing
constraints on the use of groundwater.
Maryland encompasses portions of four geologic regions: (1)
coastal plain, (2) piedmont, (3) valley and ridge, and (4) applachian
plateau. For the coastal plain, shown in Figure 1 as east of the fall
line, groundwater is obtained from the sands and gravels of several
aquifer formations. For the piedmont, valley and ridge, and appala-
chian plateau, which is west of the fall line, groundwater is obtained
primarily from bedrock aquifers.
1Nat. Res. Economist., Md. Water Resources Admin., Annapolis, Md.
Hydrogeologist, Md. Water Resources Admin., Annapolis, Md.
562 IRRIGATION AND DRAINAGE AND WATER RESOURCES
I,-,- L ----:^
,7 i =f
Coastal Plain.---The coastal plain formations dip southeasterly,
generally less than lo,and thicken seaward to form a sedimentary wedge
which exceeds 8500 feet at the Atlantic coast. The range in trans-
missivity values for selected aquifers are presented in Table 1. Table
1 is not a complete lithology of the coastal plain sediments, but it
does include all major aquifer units. Under favorable conditions, well
yields of about 1000 gpm or more can be obtained from most of the
listed aquifers. The highest well yield anywhere in the state, which
is slightly greater than 4000 gpm, is obtained from the Naylor Mill
paleochannel, a feature of the Columbia Group.
Bedrock Aquifers.---Table 2 provides specific capacity values and
estimated well yields for several bedrock aquifers(6). The specific
capacity that is equaled or exceeded by 10 percent of wells with-
drawing from the rock type is considered the criterion for represen-
tative yields if wells were sited in optimal locations. Selection of
such well sites involves analysis of the topography, fracture traces
on aerial photographs, site specific geology, and geophysical data,
The limestone and dolomite aquifers with an estimated average
well yield of 195 gallons per minute are the most productive of the
bedrock aquifers. Individual well yields as high as 1000 gpm have
been obtained from these aquifers, thus, they are favored for
industrial and municipal wells. Other bedrock aquifers, such as the
sandstones and marbles, could supply at least moderate industrial or
municipal water supply demands and even the least productive aquifers
provide sufficient well yields for individual domestic wells.
TABLE 1.---Range in Transmissivity Values
Plain Aquifers, after Hansen(2).
for Selected Coastal
Aquifer Geologic Series feet squared per day
Patuxent Lower Cretaceous 130 11,000
Patapsco Lower Cretaceous 160 6,700
Magothy Upper Cretaceous < 1300 13,000
Aquia Paleocene-Eocene < 130 5,300
Piney Point Eocene < 130 5,300
Manokin Miocene 940 5,300
Columbia Group Plio-Pleistocene 4000 53,000
IRRIGATION AND DRAINAGE AND WATER RESOURCES
TABLE 2.---Selected Parameters for Bedrock Aquifers, after
Specific Capacity Estimated Average
Equaled or Exceeded Yield Under Optimum
by 10% of wells conditions
Rock Type (gal/min/ft) (gal/min)
Limestone and Dolomite 2.0 195
Sandstone 1.4 140
Marble 1.0 100
Schist 0.7 70
Shale 0.5 50
Granite and Gneiss 0.4 40
STATE ROLE IN GROUNDWATER RESOURCES MANAGEMENT
The role of the state agencies in water resources management was
evaluated about ten years ago by a committee from the University of
Maryland (10). This committee's evaluation considered a broad range
of water resources activities including management of hydrogeologic
information. The committee recommended improvements to the following
established legislative authorities:
1. The authority to conduct topographic, geologic, hydrographic,
and geophysical surveys and to prepare reports and/or maps on the
state's geology and water resources (Section 2-202 of the Natural
2. The water appropriation permit authority enacted in 1933 which
requires every person to obtain a permit to appropriate or use water
except where the use is for domestic or farming purposes (Section
8-802 of Natural Resources Article).
3. The well drilling program that was enacted in 1945, along
with statewide regulations for well drilling (Sections 8-602 to 8-604
of the Natural Resources Article).
4. The state responsibility for planning and supervising multiple
purpose development and conservation for water resources on a water-
shed or aquifer basis (Section 8-203 of the Natural Resources Article).
The relevant recommendations were(a) establishment of a compu-
terized system for acquisition, storage, retrieval, and analysis
of water resources data, (b) establishment of a water use reporting
system through the water appropriation permits, (c) modification of
the well drilling authorities to assure safe well construction and
accurate reporting of well construction data, (d) collection of
information to determine the maximum sustained yield for all aquifers
and to protect groundwater quality, and (e) preparation of a statewide
plan for water resources development. Progress during the last ten
years in implementing these recommendations is described in this
COMPUTERIZED DATA SYSTEMS
After the 1967 report the Water Resources Administration began
developing a computer program for well drilling permits and related
information storage and retrieval. The well drilling computer system
became operational in 1969. A computer system for processing water
appropriation permits was placed on line in 1977. The appropriation
computer system presently is being expanded to handle water use data
and to satisfy other information storage and retrieval requirements.
Well Drilling Permits.---Under Maryland statute a well may not be
drilled until the Water Resources Administration issues a permit.(9)
The processing of well drilling permits includes application by the
driller, a computer printed permit, and a well completion report.
Generally the permit is mailed along with a metal well identification
tag to the driller one day after the application is received.
Along with printing the permits, the computer stores the data
items listed in Table 3. An important data item not entered into the
computer file is the lithologic log that appears on each well comple-
tion report. Public access to these logs is through the microfilm
files, which contain all applications, permits, and completion reports
dating back to 1945, when drilling permit program was initiated.
Several informational and other reports are generated by computer
on a regular basis to accommodate informational needs of both the
planning and regulatory programs. The reports allow retrieval of well
data by owner name, county, driller name, permit number, subdivision,
and state coordinates. The Maryland coordinate system is a counter-
part to the rectangular surveys, based on townships, ranges and
sections, used in western states.
Water Appropriation Permits.---Under Maryland law every
person is required to obtain a permit in order to appropriate or
use, or begin to construct any plant, building, or structure which
may appropriate or use any waters of the state, except water used
for domestic and farming purposes.(9) For the period 1967 through
1976 an average of 344 appropriation permits were issued each year.
IRRIGATION AND DRAINAGE AND WATER RESOURCES
TABLE 3.---Information Stored Through Well Drilling Pemit
Proposed pumping rate
Quantity of water needed
Type of water use
Approximate well depth
Approximate well diameter
Method of drilling
North coordinate grid
East coordinate grid
Date well completed
Depth of well
Depth of grout
Type of casing
Depth of casing
Type of screen
Depth of screen
Diameter of screen
Hours of test pumping
Static water level
Pumping water level
Type of pump
Length of pump column
The Administration issued 709 in FY77 and 975 in FY78. The increase
is due largely to permits for new subdivisions using individual wells.
A 1977 opinion of the State Attorney General ruled that the act of
subdividing land is a commercial enterprise and therefore subject
to the appropriation law.
In FY78 a computer system for water appropriation permits was
placed on-line. With the substantial increase in appropriation
permits, the computer program was virtually essential to handle the
Components presently being added to the computer program are (a)
storage of water use data and (b) additional capability for a wider
range of information retrieval. The processing steps and data items
entered into the computer file are summarized in Table 4. The items
stored as general data are items retrieved most frequently. The
permit processing statuses are used to track the applications through
all required steps, such as technical review, public hearing require-
ments, and permit preparation. Table 4 lists the information stored
for each intake or well. The intake data includes locational
information (i.e. the coordinate grids, the name of the aquifer,
and the river basin) for each well associated with an appropriation
file. Water use for each appropriation file is coded by percentage
using a listing of 25 types of water use. This effort is being
coordinated with the National Water Use Data System(4) administered
by the U.S. Geological Survey.
TABLE 4.---Synopsis of Data Stored Through
Appropriation Permit Program
Standard industrial classification
Water use reporting requirement
Maximum water appropriation
Average water appropriation
Permit issue date
Permit expiration date
Classification of application
Public hearing requirement
East coordinate grid
Intake Data North coordinate grid
Stream code/aquifer code
River basin Code
Percent average appropriation
Percent average appropriation
Water Use Code
Water Use Percent average appropriation
IRRIGATION AND DRAINAGE AND WATER RESOURCES
USE OF HYDROGEOLOGIC DATA FOR GROUNDWATER DEVELOPMENT PLANNING
Estimates of future groundwater pumpage from each aquifer are
derived from a comparative analyses of surface and groundwater
alternatives that could satisfy projected water demands in the most
cost effective manner. These demands are defined by local land use
and development plans, projected economic activity, and decisions of
private interests. When groundwater development is the selected
alternative, the future pumpage estimate can then be compared to the
ultimate sustainable aquifer yield. This yield is defined as the
potential long term recharge to an aquifer, assuming full aquifer
development, subject to restrictions on drawdown prescribed in the
aquifer management plan. Aquifer modeling is the best available
method for determining the ultimate sustainable aquifer yield and the
general spatial distribution of wells to develop that yield. When a
specific well is identified, an engineering analysis of long-term well
yield is usually conducted using available hydraulic equations that
define the relationship between drawdown, distance from the well, and
the expected pumping rate.
Restrictions on Drawdown.--- Maryland's aquifer management plan
(1,8) defines management water levels for aquifers as 80 percent of
the distance from sea level to the top of the aquifer based on site
specific data obtained from an aquifer test when the top is below
sea level. If the top of the aquifer is above sea level, the
management water level is 20 feet above the top elevation. The
management water levels are the primary criteria for restricting draw-
down of the piezometric surface.
Site specific impacts, such as interference with existing ground-
water users, interception of streamflows, and adverse water quality
impacts to the aquifer, are considered during reviews of appropriation
permit applications. If justified, restrictions on drawdown are
incorporated into the appropriation permits to mitigate or control
anticipated adverse site specific impacts. Although the restrictions
on drawdown specified in the aquifer management plan can be incorpora-
ted into planning for groundwater development, available hydrogeologic
information generally is.not detailed enough to predict the additional
restrictions on drawdown that might be imposed to protect streamflows,
existing users, or water quality.
Studies to define and predict streamflow interception and water
quality impacts due to intrusion often are expensive and generally are
handled on a site specific basis. For anticipated intrusion problems,
an observation well or wells may be required through the appropriation
permit program for monitoring groundwater quality. The monitoring
data provide a basis for changing the appropriated amounts of ground-
water pumpage. For proposed large groundwater withdrawals, specific
hydrogeologic studies may be required on the part of the prospective
user. Depending on the study results, observation wells may or may
not be required. If an intrusion problem is anticipated over a large
geographic region, a detailed hydrogeologic study could be conducted
through the U.S. Geological Survey cooperative program.
The interception of base streamflow is difficult to quantify.
As with intrusion, site specific hydrogeologic studies can be expen-
sive. A study is underway by the U.S. Geological Survey to relate
hydrogeologic characteristics to measured base flow for three small
watersheds west of the fall line shown in Figure 1(7). The three
hydrogeologic formations are (a) limestone, (b) sandstone--shale,
and (c) crystalline rock. This effort, which will be completed in
1981, is intended to improve methodologies for evaluating groundwater/
surface water interconnection and provide further insight into the
importance of addressing interconnection as a part of the appropriation
Ultimate Sustainable Aquifer Yield.---Studies by the U.S.
Geological Survey and Maryland Geological Survey traditionally have
provided estimates of long term aquifer yield by analyzing base flow
of streams or by applying Darcy's equation to entire aquifer sections.
These estimates are valuable as a "first-cut" approximation of aquifer
yield, and for most of the state these are the only available estimates.
Aquifer models afford improved estimates of ultimate sustainable
aquifer yields. Over the past several years, the U.S. Geological
Survey in cooperation with the Maryland Geological Survey has been
actively pursuing digital aquifer simulation models. Models already
are available for the Magothy(5) and Aquia(3) aquifers, and models
for the Piney Point and Patapsco--Patuxent aquifers presently are
being developed. In addition efforts are underway to develop a
multiple aquifer model that can assess the amount of leakage between
major aquifer units.
Aquifer models may be the only practical method on a regional
basis to evaluate dynamic recharge and leakage conditions and
assumed restrictions on drawdown. The development of aquifer models
requires comprehensive hydrogeologic information, such as aquifer
geometry, aquifer parameters, water levels, and groundwater pumpage.
Field investigations, such as geophysical logging and aquifer
testing, are used to obtain the necessary data. With respect to the
regulatory authorities described previously, the lithologic logs
submitted by the well drillers complement the geophysical logs in
determining aquifer thickness. The aquifer tests required as a part
of the review of applications for larger appropriation permits
supplement the aquifer tests conducted through special studies by
providing additional transmissivity and storage coefficient values.
Information on water withdrawals is available for larger users(more
than 10,000 gallons per day) through required monthly pumpage records.
Long Term Well Yield.---The long term well yield as described
by Hansen(2) addresses the hydrology of a single well or a single
well field. Groundwater hydraulic equations are used to predict the
amount of drawdown that will occur at given distances from a well
pumping at a specified rate. The aquifer parameters of transmissivity
and storage coefficient are needed to apply the equations. Initial or
570 IRRIGATION AND DRAINAGE AND WATER RESOURCES
"first-cut" estimates of these aquifer parameters are available for
the coastal plain region of the state, and when inserted into the
hydraulic calculations, they provide a quick and inexpensive indica-
tion of the feasibility of a proposed groundwater withdrawal project.
Calculations using these equations are considered adequate for all
but very large groundwater withdrawals where an aquifer model should
If preliminary indications are that a proposed groundwater with-
drawal project is feasible and application is made for a groundwater
appropriation permit, the applicant for a medium or large withdrawal
is required to drill a test well(s) and conduct an aquifer test. The
testing serves to confirm the availability of sufficient groundwater
to meet the applicant's needs as well as to prescribe all regulatory
provisions well in advance of the construction of any permanent
SUMMARY AND CONCLUSIONS
In 1967 Maryland began developing computerized data systems for
groundwater information. Along with providing needed information
retrieval and dissemination, the systems assist in the implementation
of the state's regulatory authorities on well drilling and water
appropriation. The well drilling system became operational in 1969.
In 1977, the water appropriation computer system become operational
although the water use component of that system has not been completed.
Maryland is coordinating with the U.S. Geological Survey under the
National Water Use Data System. The water use computer component
is being designed to satisfy both Maryland's informational requirements
as well as those of the National Water Use Data System.
In addition to systematically maintaining a computerized file of
hydrogeologic information, Maryland is using the information to plan
for increased groundwater development. The information will continue
to be used to develop and refine aquifer simulation models. Such
models provide the best possible evaluation of the amount of with-
drawal and the location of individual wells to develop the full yield
of various aquifers. Those models will be used for large projects
and for periodic reviews of the overall status of aquifers. Until
more aquifer models are available and for small or moderately sized
projects, hydraulic calculations based on known or estimated aquifer
parameters will continue to be used to determine groundwater availa-
bility at specific sites.
The progress in development of the computerized data systems
during the past decade has been significant. These improvements are
now allowing and will continue to allow for more effective administra-
tion of regulatory programs. However, more importantly, the data
systems are needed to assure efficient groundwater development.
Without the base of hydrogeologic information from these systems,
needed feasibility investigations likely would not be conducted
and groundwater would continue to be misunderstood and underutilized
resource. The computer systems provide researchers, other agencies,
local governments, and business interests with a useable, readily
available, and inexpensive source of iydrogeologic information.
1. Hansen, Harry J., 1970, Zoning Plan for Managing a Maryland
Coastal Aquifer, Journal American Water Works Association,
Volume 62, no. 5, pages 268-292.
2. Hansen, Harry J., 1972, A User's Guide for the Artesian Aquifers
of the Maryland Coastal Plain. Part I: Introductory Definitions
and Examples, and Part II: Aquifers Characteristics, Maryland
Geological Survey, Baltimore, Maryland.
3. Kapple, G.W. and Hansen, H.J., 1976, A Digital Simulation Model of
the Aquia Aquifer in Southern Maryland, Informational Circular 20,
Maryland Geological Survey, Baltimore, Maryland, 34 pages.
4. Knecht, W. and McLamb, R., 1978, Preliminary Report on
Requirements for the National Water Use Data System, CACI, Inc.--
Federal, Washington, D.C.
5. Mack, Frederick K., 1974, An Evaluation of the Magothy Aquifer in
the Annapolis Area, Maryland, Report of Investigation No. 22,
Maryland Geological Survey, Baltimore, Maryland, 73 pages.
6. Nutter, L.J., 1974, Well Yields in the Bedrock Aquifers of
Maryland, Information Circular 16, Maryland Geological Survey,
Baltimore, Maryland, 24 pages.
7. U.S. Geological Survey, 1977, Status of Water.Resources Investi-
gations in Maryland, Delaware, and the District of Columbia,
1976 and 1977, Annual Report, U.S. Geological Survey, Towson,
Maryland, 20 pages.
8. Water Resources Administration, 1977, Notice of Proposed Action
of Regulation 08.05.02 Water Appropriation or Use and Well
Construction, Maryland Register, Volume 4, Issue 20, Division of
State Documents, Annapolis, Maryland, pp. 1550-1566.
9. Willson, W.M. and Vaughan, J.H. (Eds.), 1974, The Annotated Code
of the Public General Laws of Maryland, Natural Resources Article,
The Michie Company, Chalottesville, Virginia.
10. Water Resources Study Committee, 1967, Water Resources Management
in Maryland, University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland,