2004 Denver Annual Meeting (November 7–10, 2004)

Paper No. 4
Presentation Time: 1:30 PM-5:30 PM


BOVING, Thomas B., Geosciences, Univ of Rhode Island, 317 Woodward Hall, Kingston, RI 02881, FASTOVSKY, David E., Department of Geosciences, Univ of Rhode Island, 9 East Alumni Ave, Kingston, RI 02881 and DELSESTO, David, Providence Water, Cranston, RI 02882, boving@uri.edu

Although New England is not commonly considered a region in which water abundance (as distinct from water quality) is a problem, the record from the previous few years suggests that water abundance is indeed an issue about which citizens need to be informed. This was exemplified during the most recent draught (2002), when water levels in New England’s reservoirs reached historic lows and citizens were ask to restrict water use to only the most urgent applications. Because droughts have the potential to become an integral part the climate in Rhode Island and neighboring New England states, an informed public is the single most important key to obtaining meaningful and long-term responses to such crises. The purpose of the project was to a) construct a widely available and easily comprehensible website documenting water abundance in RI; and b) present current and historical data pertaining to the state’s most important drinking water reservoir, the Scituate Reservoir, and its water levels. Scituate water level data were automatically recorded every six hours and were delivered via automated email to our server. The data consisted of Scituate Reservoir water levels, drinking water plant influent, water consumption by 11 water suppliers served by the plant, and water levels in 5 water storage facilities. A multi-year graphic record was compiled, showing water-level fluctuations in the Scituate Reservoir and a 10-day moving average of the drinking water plant influent. These fluxes and levels were compared with relevant historical data (e.g., average water levels in previous years) and climatological records. The graph was uploaded to a serve and is updated periodically. Drought alert messages – if applicable – are posted on the website and links are provided water resources authorities. The ultimate goal is to automatically update the website in near real-time and expand the drought alert network across the state’s borders.