Clean Currents 2023

A1a: A Roadmap to Intelligent Watersheds: Evaluating Knowledge Gaps and Feasibility

Hydropower owner/operators are facing increasingly difficult decisions about balancing the needs of power production with that of grid services, water supply, flood control, environmental management, and others. These decisions increasingly require consideration and coordination with other assets at the watershed to basin scale.

Informed decision-making for multi-use watersheds in an era of changing climate demands the development of an interconnected system of systems, or an Intelligent System, that comprehensively connects information chains at varying spatial scales from data-to-decision. Specifically, we envision the concept of Intelligent Watersheds (IWs) that digitally link sensing and analysis tools to inform decisions related to hydropower objectives throughout the watershed.

We are taking the first step by developing a roadmap to guide the development and implementation of IWs. This roadmap will formalize the concept of IWs, establish measures of Intelligence, prioritize research and development efforts, and explore the implementation of IWs within the context of human-managed systems, with a particular focus on addressing the needs of underserved communities. The roadmap is structured around three key information themes (data creation, management, and use) and five contributing sectors (climate, water, environment, energy, and society).

A multi-stage stakeholder engagement process is being used to:
– identify informational and decision-making needs
– vet approaches for assessing watershed intelligence
– evaluate barriers to implementing IWs.

We will use this opportunity to communicate findings to date and to solicit further input and participation from the hydropower community.

Presenter Information

Vincent Tidwell

Vincent Tidwell
Chief Scientist
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), U.S. Department of Energy
Poster Presenter

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