VIRTUAL MEETING: Low-cost Ephemeral Streamflow Monitoring to Determine Stormwater Runoff Characteristics for Groundwater Recharge

May 20, 2020 @ 12:00 pm – 1:15 pm

GRA SoCal Branch is delighted to host Lindsey Bunting from GeoSystems Analysis, Inc. for a virtual presentation on May 20th during lunch time on Low-Cost Ephemeral Streamflow Monitoring to Determine Stormwater Runoff Characteristics for Groundwater Recharge.

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Stormwater capture with beneficial re-use or managed aquifer recharge (MAR) is of increasing interest in semi-arid areas with limited water resources. However, estimates of potential stormwater flow rates and volumes can be highly inaccurate in ungauged ephemeral drainages. Thus, assessing the potential benefits and costs of capturing stormwater for MAR or other use will be equally inaccurate. Several low-cost stream gauging tools have been recently developed for monitoring stormwater runoff dynamics in ungauged watersheds. These include stilling wells instrumented with datalogging pressure transducers and game cameras focused on staff gages (surface water imagery) to monitor stormwater runoff events through culverts, across road crossings and in natural drainages. These data can then be analyzed with HEC-RAS and the continuous slope area (CSA) method to estimate stormwater flow rates and volumes. This talk discusses the implementation, management and results from three years of extensive ephemeral channel streamflow monitoring in semi-urbanized and urbanized watersheds with existing or proposed MAR projects. The goal of the monitoring is to provide essential baseline data on stormwater runoff volumes to inform the design and management of MAR projects in the Upper San Pedro River Basin. Results from the first three years of monitoring indicate that in watersheds with existing or planned recharge projects, measured annual stormwater runoff volumes are much lower than initial estimates generated using standard stormwater runoff models (HECRAS and AGWA/KINEROS). The talk will include discussion of advantages and limitations of low-cost automated monitoring equipment and broad lessons learned regarding modeled versus empirically derived projections of watershed runoff in semi-arid environments.


Lindsey Bunting is an environmental scientist at GeoSystems Analysis, Inc. with over 12 years of experience specializing in environmental monitoring, groundwater recharge studies, habitat restoration, mine reclamation, and salinity management. Wearing many hats, she provides expertise in data acquisition system design, management, and troubleshooting; soil field assessments and laboratory analyses; and data analysis and management. Currently, Lindsey serves as the data manager for a large-scale soil and groundwater monitoring project to assist with adaptive management of habitat restoration sites along the Lower Colorado River. She also manages projects involving long-term monitoring to support groundwater recharge efforts in Arizona’s upper San Pedro basin, salinity studies to develop strategies for sustainable irrigation with reclaimed water, riparian tree seed collection for revegetation projects, and cover monitoring systems to support mine closure in Nevada.