Investigating Runoff Source Area for an Irrigation Drain System Using ArcHydro Tools

Publication Date


Committee Chair

Tarek Rashed, Ph.D.

Committee Members

Karen K. Kemp
Francisco Costa, Ph.D.


This study is a pilot project for the GIS Initiative being conducted for the Regional Water Quality Control Board, Colorado River Basin, in Palm Desert, CA. The project demonstrates the hydrographic data management and analysis tools in ESRI’s ArcHydro by linking water quality with monitoring site locations and management practice data for upstream areas along an agricultural drain system. The irrigation drain system in the Imperial Valley region of southeastern California is designated as an impaired water body with respect to the constituent suspended sediment. The drain system is the focus of a Total Mean Daily Load (TMDL) determination by the Board in compliance with the Clean Water Act. In support of the expansion of the Board’s GIS capability this project has created a database encompassing the network of agricultural drains that discharge directly into the Salton Sea. By implementing ESRI’s ArcHydro data framework to model the study area hydrography and surrounding parcels in a geodatabase, a series of links with water quality data and irrigation-based land management practice information can be established. The geometric network configuration for the drain system and the use of ArcHydro tools allow tracing of flow from monitoring stations upstream and selection of parcels contributing runoff. This design extends data accessibility and analysis capability by creating the relationship between water quality constituents, sample location and management practices implemented on the associated land parcels. By enabling the tracking of efforts to minimize sediment, silt and other contaminants entering the waterways the application can benefit the Board by furnishing a database to verify effectiveness of pollution reduction measures.

Full text is available at the University of Redlands


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