Datapages, Inc.Print this page

WRVAT: A Comprehensive GIS-Based Water Resources Vulnerability Assessment Tool

Abhishek Singh1, Toya Jones1, John Pickens1, and Robert M. Holt2
1Water Resources Division, INTERA, Inc., Austin, Texas
2Department of Geology and Geological Engineering, University of Mississippi

The National Infrastructure Protection Plan of February 2006 (U.S. Department of Homeland Security, 2006) and the Mississippi State Homeland Security Strategy (Mississippi Department of Public Safety, 2006) required complete inventories of critical infrastructure and key resources/assets in the state, vulnerability assessments to identify potential areas of weakness in the infrastructure or with the resources/assets, and guidance in prioritizing vulnerability reduction decisions with respect to the infrastructure and/or resources and assets. Groundwater and surface water resources, which include aquifers, streams, dams, and reservoirs, are defined as ‘key resources’ and ‘key assets’ of the state of Mississippi by the National Infrastructure Protection Plan (U.S. Department of Homeland Security, 2006) and are critical to the infrastructure of the state.

Groundwater and surface water resources in Mississippi are interconnected and cannot be separated. For example, surface water resources such as streams locally provide recharge to aquifer systems and aquifer systems locally return base flow to streams. In addition, threats to dams and reservoirs have the potential to impact downstream groundwater and surface water resources. More than 95 percent of the population residing in Mississippi relies on groundwater from >3400 public water supply wells and >60,000 private wells for drinking water. In addition, groundwater and, to a limited extent, surface water are used for agricultural and industrial purposes. More than 3650 public and privately-owned dams are located in Mississippi and of these 291 are classified as high-risk dams. Although dams in Mississippi are classified with respect to risk, that classification does not consider the vulnerability of dams to outside threats.

An ArcGIS-based tool, the Water Resources Vulnerability Assessment Tool (WRVAT), was developed in response to the need to inventory and assess the vulnerability of water resources in Mississippi. The water resources that can be assessed using the WRVAT are surface water systems, groundwater systems, and dams. The WRVAT contains vulnerability assessment tools that enables federal and state agencies to prioritize and evaluate vulnerability reduction activities for surface water, groundwater, and dams. In addition, the WRVAT is useful for other tasks such as evaluating the effectiveness of a proposed remedial design or assessing emergency response plans, thus providing a secondary benefit to state agencies. Figure 1 shows an example of the WRVAT interface.


AAPG Search and Discovery Article #90158©2012 GCAGS and GC-SEPM 6nd Annual Convention, Austin, Texas, 21-24 October 2012