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Lehigh University logo

Brenden Michaelis

Computationally Modeling the Effects of Human Activity on Surface Water Systems

Department: Civil and Environmental Engineering
Advisor: Tara Troy

View: UGRS Research Poster (PDF)

Population growth and increased consumption requires larger quantities of water for electricity production, crops, and drinking water from almost every river basin in the world.  Simultaneously, there has been a greater awareness of the need for conservation of stream flows for ecosystem protection. Typical stream flow models are either spatially too large to model the stream flow effects of individual reservoirs, or too specialized to be applied to multiple river systems without many empirical constants. A model was developed at a spatial resolution of 1/8° longitude by 1/8° latitude that computes streamflow of any river system on a daily time step. The model inputs include runoff from a variable infiltration capacity model (VIC), the location of man-made reservoirs, human withdrawals, and environmental flow rules. The model was validated using the Delaware River Basin north of Trenton NJ and its constituent reservoirs. Increased human water demand was then simulated during different severities of drought, and the subsequent stream flows were examined under different water management practices.

About Brenden Michaelis:
Brenden is a Junior Environmental Engineering student at Lehigh, with a particular interest in water resources.  He has been working with Professor Troy for the past year developing a computational model for stream flow that incorporates human activities such as damming, piping, and consuming water.  He is involved with several clubs on campus namely the Lehigh chapter of Engineers without Boarders, and the Community Growers gardening club.