Rural Water - Quarter 1, 2009 - (Page 30)

Understanding Your Surface Water Source: BY RANDALL KELLEY, KENTUCKY RURAL WATER ASSOCIATION THE RIVERS “You could not step twice into the same river; for other waters are ever flowing on to you.” — Heraclitus of Ephesus. Surface water sources are subject to considerable changes throughout the year, and lakes can be far more dynamic bodies of water than many people realize. Changes occurring within lakes are largely driven by changing weather conditions and the prevailing climate of the region. Rivers also experience considerable changes based on the seasons of the year, but rivers can experience rapid changes any time of the year. These changes are often plainly visible, as when a river is experiencing a high flow event (called a spate), but Figure 1. Harts Run at Bernheim Forest is a very “healthy” stream. as with lakes, other changes are more subtle. FurNote the low stream banks, the forested riparian zone and the ther, the characteristics of large amount of leaf litter in the a river are highly affected stream. by the land use within their drainage basins and by past and current human activity. Water treatment plants located on rivers have a unique source of water. Their water source is constant- Figure 2. Excessive algae growth such as this ly moving and as such, is is the result of two primary problems. First, constantly changing. For runoff from urban and agricultural areas (too operators, understanding much nitrogen and phosphorous) entering the stream provides the food necessary for algae what changes occur in growth. Second, a complete lack of overhead their river and why they tree cover leads to higher water temperatures occur can greatly aid the enabling rapid growth rates, and higher operation of their water sunlight levels providing an overabundance of energy for photosynthesis. treatment plants. Before we discuss seasonal variations in rivers, let’s take a look at what makes a “healthy” river. Healthy streams and rivers have more than just clean water. Healthy rivers are able to inundate their surrounding lowlands during high f lows (which slow the velocity of the water and significantly reduce erosion), exhibit little bank erosion and have heavily vegetated riparian (bank side) zones. Harts Run, a small creek in the Bernheim Forest, typifies these characteristics (Figure 1). Wetlands frequently are located in the lowland areas near the streams, especially in f latter terrain. Finally, healthy streams and rivers have lots of habitat for fish, crustaceans and insects such as dead logs, boulders, gravel, pools and riff les. Channelization, a common feature of many of Kentucky’s streams, ser ves to negatively impact all of the above features. Channelized streams have higher water velocities during f lood 30 • First Quarter 2009

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Rural Water - Quarter 1, 2009

Rural Water - Quarter 1, 2009
From the President
Question & Answer: Water Conservation in the Home
Avoiding the Humpty Dumpty Approach to Data Backup
From the CEO
What the Future Holds
Asset Management for Small Communities
Understanding Your Surface Water Source: The Rivers
Hydraulic Models
Expeditionary Water Packaging System Graces Delta
The Rural Water Rally in April
Training in Hawaii
Regulatory Update
Rural Water Releases Report on Water Infrastructure Projects and Economic Stimulus Legislation
Throwing My Loop
Index to Advertisers

Rural Water - Quarter 1, 2009