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News From Around the Basin – June 20, 2024

New NOAA rapid onset drought prediction 🌊 tool, urban swimming 🏊‍♀️trend, 💩-powered buses, and more, in this week’s Potomac News Reservoir – June 20, 2024 >>>

Interstate Commission on the Potomac River Basin Newsletter — June 20, 2024

River Report – New NOAA Rapid Onset Drought Prediction Tool

You might have noticed it’s hot outside. According to the new NOAA Climate Prediction Center, which just became live last month, the excessive heat may lead to a regional rapid onset drought. Also known as a flash drought, these events are tied to extreme temperatures and other variables that quickly soak up available moisture.

The river’s flow at the USGS gage at Point of Rocks is hovering around 2,600 cubic feet per second (cfs), and dropping. If the flow goes below 2,000 cfs, ICPRB’s CO-OP team will initiate daily drought monitoring. In the case of a drought, the DC Metro area is well protected due to decades of planning and preparation.

It’s always a good idea to be mindful of our water use. Here are a few tips to be water wise:

🛠️ Fix leaky pipes.

🚿 Take shorter showers.

🌿 Choose native plants for your landscaping.

🥤 Capture and reuse water from activities like washing vegetables or waiting for the water to warm up. This water can be used to water plants or to clean.

🚰 Brushing teeth? Washing hands? Doing dishes? Turn the faucet off when you are not actively using the water during these daily activities.

What to celebrate this week: West Virginia Day (June 20)

With 3,490 square miles of land in the Potomac watershed, West Virginia makes up almost 25% of the total watershed. However, West Virginians make up a only small fraction (0.04%) of the overall population.* Happy West Virginia Day! (*2020 census)

ICPRB in the Community

Join ICPRB at one of our upcoming events:

Find even more fun activities on our Events Calendar > > >

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News From Around the Basin – June 13, 2024

Welcoming our summer intern, honoring Juneteenth and Pride Month, Potomac River dolphins, and more in this week’s Potomac News Reservoir >>>

Welcoming Summer 2024 Intern, AJ Villaruel!

AJ is a Junior at Cornell University studying Biological Engineering and Global Development. His academic and career interests lie within the intersection of engineering, sustainability, and community engagement, and how they can be used to equitably improve the lives of those worldwide.

This summer, he will assist the ICPRB’s Section for Cooperative Water Supply Operations on the Potomac (CO-OP) by enhancing modeling tools with remote sensing data and analyzing GRACE-based drought products to improve drought assessment tools. Additionally, he will support the Aquatic Life Section and the DEIJ committee of the Commission with research objectives.

AJ comes to ICPRB from the Yale Conservation Scholars Program. Welcome, AJ!

 

June Water Supply Outlook shows low risk of backup water use

Each month from April to October, the ICPRB Section for Cooperative Water Supply Operations on the Potomac, or CO-OP Section, produces the Water Supply Outlook, which details the probability of the DC metro area needing a release from upstream reservoirs for its drinking water supply.

Last summer, we were experiencing abnormally dry conditions. This summer, we are in better shape due to heavier rain this spring. The maps below illustrate the spatial variability of rainfall over the Potomac Basin in May. Normalized rainfall anomaly, indicating departure from normal conditions, reveals that rainfall was normal to slightly above normal across the basin.

Read the full Water Supply Outlook for the month of June here > > >

ICPRB is Hiring: Water Resources Planner

ICPRB seeks an enthusiastic, detail-oriented collaborator to be a key member of the Water Resources team. The Water Resources Planner will assist with interesting and challenging projects in this program area, an exciting opportunity to apply diverse technical and participatory skills in a large river basin context. This position will also be responsible for coordinating the Potomac River Drinking Water Source Protection Partnership, to include planning and executing quarterly meetings, administering the partnership, and designing and implementing associated educational events. Applications are due by 5:00 PM on July 5, 2024.

Learn more on our Jobs page >>>

Honoring freedom this week: Juneteenth

What does freedom mean to you? The organization Outdoor Afro, which has a mission of celebrating and inspiring Black connections and leadership in nature, will commemorate Juneteenth next Wednesday, June 19, under the theme of “Freedom to Access Water.”

To honor this day, we encourage you to spend time in nature (whether a nearby beach, swimming pool, or public park for example). Outdoor Afro asks you to discover a nearby water source in your neighborhood for 2.5 hours – to reflect in honor of the 2.5 years that freedom delayed for 250,000 enslaved Black people of Galveston, Texas.

More about Outdoor Afro and their Making Waves program, which has a goal of helping 1,200 Black children and caregivers learn to swim in 2024 > > >

Learn about LGBTQ History in the Outdoors

June is national LGBTQ Pride Month. You might be familiar with the Capital Pride parade and other Pride celebrations taking place this month, but did you know about the places all around the region, including several parks and plazas, that are significant to LGBTQ history?

Learn more about LGBTQ Heritage in the National Capital Region from the National Park Service > > >

ICPRB in the Community

Join ICPRB at one of our upcoming events:

Find even more fun activities on our Events Calendar > > >

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ICPRB Staff Published June Water Supply Outlook

The Water Supply Outlook has returned to its seasonal schedule of reporting for April – October. The Water Supply Outlook is a monthly report that looks at the overall drought conditions in the Potomac River basin.

The probability of releases from backup water supply reservoirs in the Washington metropolitan area during the summer and fall seasons of 2024 is currently below normal. Streamflow is currently near
normal, and groundwater levels are mostly normal. The Potomac basin upstream of Washington, D.C. received 4.3 inches of precipitation for the month of May, which is 0.2 inches above normal. As of May 31, the 12-month cumulative basin precipitation is 0.5 inches below normal. The Middle Atlantic River Forecast Center (MARFC) anticipates no water supply shortages within the Mid-Atlantic region over the next couple of months, assuming continuation of near normal precipitation.

Read the June Water Supply Outlook >>>

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ICPRB Hiring: Water Resources Planner

ICPRB seeks an enthusiastic, detail-oriented collaborator to be a key member of the Water Resources team. The Water Resources Planner will assist with interesting and challenging projects in this program area, an exciting opportunity to apply diverse technical and participatory skills in a large river basin context. The position will participate as part of a highly collaborative water resources team. Example activities include developing a watershed management plan to address Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs) in the Lake Anna watershed, Virginia, updating the Potomac basin land prioritization tool, and conducting bi-annual webinars for land use decision-makers. More broadly, the position will assist with the implementation of various aspects of the Potomac Basin Comprehensive Water Resources Plan. This position will also be responsible for coordinating DWSPP to include planning and executing quarterly meetings, administering the partnership, and designing and implementing associated educational events (in person and virtually).

Applications are due by 5:00 PM on July 5, 2024.

Learn more on our Jobs page >>>

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Announcing ICPRB’s 3rd Quarter Business Meeting on June 18

The ICPRB will hold its third quarter business meeting on Tuesday, June 18, 2024. The meeting will be held virtually on Teams. Commissioners will discuss the Low Flow Allocation Agreement, learn about forecasting reported water withdrawals in the Potomac basin, and more. Find the draft agenda on our Business Meetings site.

The public is invited to view the virtual meeting. Please contact us by Friday, June 14, for more information on how to attend.

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News From Around the Basin – May 30, 2024

The inaugural River Report of 2024, invasive species, water safety, and more, in this week’s Potomac News Reservoir – May 30, 2024 >>>

**Friday is the deadline for abstract submissions to present at the upcoming Potomac Conference: Reeling in the Challenge of Aquatic Invasive Species on October 17, 2024. The conference will expound on the science, policy, and management of invasive fishes and other aquatic species in the Potomac River basin and beyond.**

River Report

Thanks to a wet winter, rain in the basin is only 0.5 inches below average for the past 12 months. For comparison, in our last River Report of 2023 last December, rain in the Potomac River basin was 8 inches below average. The extra rain will help replenish groundwater sources for the coming dry season.

Currently, the river level is in good shape. At 7,700 cubic feet per second (cfs), the river’s flow at the USGS gage at Point of Rocks is slightly above the historical median level of 7,340 cfs.

Looking towards the future, NOAA is calling for an above-normal hurricane season. Unfortunately, it is hard to predict how that will impact our region. The best thing to do is to get prepared now by gathering emergency supplies, developing an evacuation plan, and preparing your home for strong storms. Learn more on the NOAA website >>>

What to celebrate this week: National Learn How to Row Day, June 1

Rowing is a popular activity in the DC Metro area. In celebration of National Learn How to Row Day on Saturday, some boathouses on the Potomac are holding events to encourage people to get out on the water and try their hand at this fun water sport. Here are just a few of the options to get your feet wet in the rowing world:

Remember to wear comfortable clothes and bring your sunscreen, water, and hat. Stay safe and have fun!

ICPRB in the Community

Join ICPRB at one of our upcoming events:

Find even more fun activities on our Events Calendar > > >

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Media From Around the Basin – May 16, 2024

Data center legislation, dolphin tracking, lighthouse for sale, and more, in this week’s Potomac News Reservoir – May 16, 2024 >>>

Data Centers, Solar Fields, and Water Resources

Did you miss last week’s webinar exploring the intersection of water resources, data centers, and solar fields in the Potomac River watershed? Catch it now on our YouTube page. Presentations included:

  • Utility Scale Solar Institutions in Virginia
  • Environmental Impacts of Industrial Scale Solar and Solutions
  • Loudoun Water’s Reclaimed Water System in the Heart of Data Center Alley

Stay tuned for future webinars covering topical matters of water resources importance. The webinars are part of the implementation of the Potomac Basin Comprehensive Water Resources Plan.

What to celebrate this week: National Love a Tree Day and Bike to Work Day

National Love a Tree Day is today. Did you know 53% of the Potomac watershed is forested? Love a tree by joining a tree planting event near you with groups like Casey Trees (DC) or Streamlink Education (MD).

Bike to Work Day is tomorrow. Air pollution impacts water quality by running into our streams and rivers when it rains. Skip the car for your morning commute and hop on your bike. Stop by a ‘pit stop’ for food, prizes, and camaraderie.

ICPRB in the Community

Join ICPRB at one of our upcoming events:

Find even more fun activities on our Events Calendar > > >

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Webinar Recording: Water Resources Impacts of Data Centers and Solar Fields and Tools to Mitigate Impacts

This webinar explores the intersection of water resources, data centers, and solar fields in the Potomac River watershed. The May 10, 2024, webinar was held as part of the implementation of the Potomac Basin Comprehensive Water Resources Plan. 

Speakers and times:

5:47 Utility Scale Solar Institutions in Virginia – Michael Rolband of Virginia Department of Environmental Quality

20:36 Environmental Impacts of Industrial Scale Solar and Solutions – Scott Cameron, Northern Virginia Soil and Water Conservation District

32:18 Loudoun Water’s Reclaimed Water System in the Heart of Data Center Alley – Darrin Geldert of Loudoun Water

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News From Around the Basin – May 9, 2024

2024 Potomac River Conference announcement, new Water Supply Outlook, a story map chronicles historically Black beaches, and more, in this week’s Potomac News Reservoir – May 9, 2024 >>>

Call for Presenters — 2024 Potomac River Conference: Reeling in the Challenge of Aquatic Invasive Species

We are looking for presentations and posters for the 2024 Potomac River Conference, which will be held on October 17, 2024, at The River View at Occoquan in Lorton, Virginia. The conference will expound on the science, policy, and management of invasive fishes and other aquatic species in the Potomac River basin.

If you are interested in speaking or presenting a poster, please submit an abstract by Friday, May 31.

Our relationship with invasive, non-native aquatic species in the Potomac River basin is complicated. Alarms are sounded and eradication efforts mobilized for some species (zebra mussels, blue catfish), while concerns about other non-native species fade as they fill empty ecological niches (Asiatic clams) or become prized fisheries (smallmouth bass). The goal of this effort is to convene a one-day, in-person conference to enhance awareness of the ecological roles that aquatic invasive species have or could assume in the Potomac River basin and the adverse impacts they impart when natural controls are missing.

If you are not interested in speaking but would like to get informed when registration is released, please sign up to stay informed.

How is our Water Supply Doing?

Each month during the dry season, staff at ICPRB’s Section for Cooperative Water Supply Operations on the Potomac produces a Water Supply Outlook report. They look at the probability of the need for releases from upstream reservoirs to supplement drinking water in the DC Metro area.

So far for 2024, the water supply outlook is good. April ended with 0.4 inches of rain above average. The extra rain has helped us close the deep gap from the 12-month cumulative average developed from last year’s dry weather. Streamflow is currently near normal, and groundwater levels are mostly normal.

Click here to read the full report >>>

If low-flow conditions develop, water from Jennings Randolph and Little Seneca lakes can be used to provide drinking water to downstream communities. The Washington metropolitan area is protected from a water supply shortage owing to carefully designed drought-contingency plans.

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The Newly Published Water Supply Outlook for May, 2024

Each month during the dry season, staff at ICPRB’s Section for Cooperative Water Supply Operations on the Potomac produces a Water Supply Outlook report. They look at the probability of the need for releases from upstream reservoirs to supplement drinking water in the DC Metro area.

So far for 2024, the water supply outlook is good. April ended with 0.4 inches of rain above average. The extra rain has helped us close the deep gap from the 12-month cumulative average developed from last year’s dry weather. Streamflow is currently near normal, and groundwater levels are mostly normal.

Click here to read the full report >>>

If low-flow conditions develop, water from Jennings Randolph and Little Seneca lakes can be used to provide drinking water to downstream communities. The Washington metropolitan area is protected from a water supply shortage owing to carefully designed drought-contingency plans.

 

Adjusted Daily Flow at Little Falls for 2024, 1999, and 2002.