The purpose of the Arkansas Valley Conduit (AVC) is to deliver water for municipal and industrial use within the boundaries of the Southeastern Colorado Water Conservancy District. Water supplied through the AVC would serve two needs: (1) to supplement or replace existing poor-quality water to communities downstream from Pueblo Reservoir; and (2) to meet a portion of the AVC participants’ projected water demands through 2070. The Bureau of Reclamation (Reclamation) initiated an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) to address the potential environmental consequences associated with constructing and operating the proposed AVC, entering into a conveyance contract for the Pueblo Dam north-south outlet works interconnect (Interconnect), and entering into a long-term excess capacity master contract (Master Contract).
Operational changes, as a result of implementation of proposed EIS alternatives, could change the hydrodynamics and water-quality conditions in Pueblo Reservoir. An interagency agreement was initiated between Reclamation and the U.S. Geological Survey to accurately simulate hydrodynamics and water quality in Pueblo Reservoir for projected demands associated with four of the seven proposed EIS alternatives.
The four alternatives submitted to the USGS for scenario simulation included various combinations (action or no action) of the proposed Arkansas Valley Conduit, Master Contract, and Interconnect options. The four alternatives were the No Action, Comanche South, Joint Use Pipeline North, and Master Contract Only. Additionally, scenario simulations were done that represented existing conditions (Existing Conditions scenario) in Pueblo Reservoir. Water-surface elevations, water temperature, dissolved oxygen, dissolved solids, dissolved ammonia, dissolved nitrate, total phosphorus, total iron, and algal biomass (measured as chlorophyll-a) were simulated. Each of the scenarios was simulated for three contiguous water years representing a wet, average, and dry annual hydrologic cycle. Each selected simulation scenario also was evaluated for differences in direct/indirect effects and cumulative effects on a particular scenario. Analysis of the results for the direct/indirect- and cumulative-effects analyses indicated that, in general, the results were similar for most of the scenarios and comparisons in this report focused on results from the direct/indirect-effects analyses.
Scenario simulations that represented existing conditions in Pueblo Reservoir were compared to the No Action scenario to assess changes in water quality from current demands (2006) to projected demands in 2070. Overall, comparisons of the results between the Existing Conditions and the No Action scenarios for water-surface elevations, water temperature, and dissolved oxygen, dissolved solids, dissolved ammonia, dissolved nitrate, total phosphorus, and total iron concentrations indicated that the annual median values generally were similar for all three simulated years. Additionally, algal groups and chlorophyll-a concentrations (algal biomass) were similar for the Existing Conditions and the No Action scenarios at site 7B in the epilimnion for the simulated period (Water Year 2000 through 2002).
The No Action scenario also was compared individually to the Comanche South, Joint Use Pipeline North, and Master Contract Only scenarios. These comparisons were made to describe changes in the annual median, 85th percentile, or 15th percentile concentration between the No Action scenario and each of the other three simulation scenarios. Simulated water-surface elevations, water temperature, dissolved oxygen, dissolved solids, dissolved ammonia, dissolved nitrate, total phosphorus, total iron, algal groups, and chlorophyll-a concentrations in Pueblo Reservoir generally were similar between the No Action scenario and each of the other three simulation scenarios.
Additional publication details
USGS Numbered Series
Simulated effects of proposed Arkansas Valley Conduit on hydrodynamics and water quality for projected demands through 2070, Pueblo Reservoir, southeastern Colorado