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Shared Vision Planning

Case Studies

The case studies section of this web site intends to capture the different experiences the Institute for Water Resources and others have had with Shared Vision Planning in practice. Sharing these experiences can help interested individuals find answers to key questions and the Shared Vision Planning process:

  • When is Shared Vision Planning the appropriate planning procedure?
  • Why does Shared Vision Planning result in solutions acceptable to stakeholders in certain situations?
  • How can planners use Shared Vision Planning to maximize the potential for reaching solutions acceptable to stakeholders?

Boston Metropolitan Studies (National Drought Study)

The New England Division of the Corps of Engineers worked with the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority (MWRA) and the Water Supply Citizens Advisory Committee (WSCAC) on three projects: (1) The development of trigger planning using a simulation model of the MWRA system built using STELLA II; (2) use of a beta version of IWR-MAIN 6.0 to determine the cost effectiveness of current and future demand management measures; and a history of the MWRA, WSCAC, and other Massachusetts agencies. The purpose of the history is to develop a basis for recommending management solutions that have worked here for other areas in the U.S.
Full Description (National Drought Study case study)


California State Water Planning Support

IWR is helping the California DWR to engage stakeholders in discussions about water demand estimates in advance of its next semi-decadal water plan. An MOU is being negotiated between DWR and IWR and will cover training and technical assistance. The state DWR will lead all modeling and planning processes.
Full Description

Partners: California Department of Water Resources (DWR);

Key Features :

  • Demand estimation
  • State water planning
  • Training
  • Working with a top-notch state agency

Cedar and Green Rivers Drought Preparedness Study

The Muckleshoot and Tulalip tribes fish these two rivers that supply water for the cities of Seattle and Tacoma. Droughts in 1987 and 1992 (the latter occurring during this DPS) sensitized these communities to the limits on water supply even in this northwestern rain forest.
Full Description (National Drought Study case study)


Colorado River Gaming (National Drought Study)

The Colorado River Gaming study was part of a larger effort called the Study of Severe Sustained Drought in the Southwestern United States (the SSD Study), which was conducted by a consortium of western U.S. universities. The purpose of the SSD research program was to identify feasible changes in operating rules for allocating and managing Colorado River water. The SSD Study was supported by funds from the USGS, the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, the Upper Colorado River Commission, the National Drought Study and the participating universities. The SSD Study grew out of the U.S. State Department's "Man and Biosphere Program."
Full Description (National Drought Study case study)


Interstate Commission on the Potomac River Basin Cooperative Water Supply Operations

As the population grew in the DC metropolitan area through the twentieth century, water supply during droughts became a significant problem due to increased demands on the Potomac River. The public opposed plans to build reservoirs to alleviate this problem, so stakeholders looked for another solution. Research conducted at Johns Hopkins University showed that by managing the existing Jennings Randolph Reservoir in coordination with the water suppliers' existing Occoquan and Patuxent Reservoirs, the region's projected demands for the future as well as adequate environmental flow could be met with only a fraction of the reservoir storage originally proposed by the Corps. The key to implementing this solution was developing inter-jurisdictional cooperation on management of the reservoir resources.
Full Description (Historical case study)

Partners: Local government bodies; Local water utilities;

Key Features :

  • Developed interjurisdictional cooperation to manage reservoir resources
  • Enacted written agreements to ensure cooperation
  • Found alternative solutions after initial management plan faced public opposition

James River Drought Preparedness Study

The James River is located almost entirely in Virginia (less than 0.1 percent of the basin is in West Virginia). The James flows 340 miles southeast from the Allegheny Mountains on the West Virginia border to Chesapeake Bay. About a fourth of Virginia - 11,000 square miles - is in the James River basin. The major tributaries are the Maury, Rivanna, Appomattox, and Chickahominy Rivers. Workshops held throughout the basin showed that the worst drought problems were in the five-city area, although the Lower Peninsula area and greater Richmond area will probably have problems in the future. The problem is not an coast, where groundwater pumping can lead to saltwater intrusion.
Full Description (National Drought Study case study)


James River Pilot Shared Vision Planning Study

This pilot Shared Vision Planning study intends to identify and describe the water resources management challenges facing the James River Basin and to identify strategies for addressing these challenges. Several workshops, including one that was held on February 1, 2007, will address the need for collaborative modeling in the project and introduce this process. Interactive web pages are also planned for this project to increase stakeholder participation.
Full Description

Partners: Environmental Protection Agency; NAO; VA DEQ; VA Water Center;

Key Features :

  • Colonial-era water rights
  • Corps 404 regulatory role
  • Local water planning
  • Smaller level of effort

Kanawha River Drought Preparedness Study

The challenge for the Kanawha River DPS team was to strike a better balance between water quality, lake boating, and white water rafting below Lake Summersville on the Gauley River, a tributary to the Kanawha. The Kanawha drains 12,300 square miles in North Carolina, Virginia and West Virginia.
Full Description (National Drought Study case study)


Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence River Study

Water management policies within the Lake Ontario – St. Lawrence River system are set by the International Joint Commission (IJC). The IJC is a joint U.S.-Canadian political body – U.S. members are appointed by the U.S. President and Canadian members are appointed by the Canadian Prime Minister. In 2000, the IJC initiated the International Lake Ontario – St. Lawrence River Study to design a new way of managing water levels and flows within the system.
Full Description (Historical case study)

Partners: Coastal property owners; Commercial navigation officials; Environmental advocates; Hydropower engineers; International Joint Commission (IJC); Local elected officials; Municipal and industrial water users; Recreational boaters;

Key Features :

  • Determined benefits of iterative process
  • Variety of research and collaborative findings incorporated into shared vision model

Marais des Cygnes - Osage Drought Preparedness Study

The river is officially designated as the Marais des Cygnes from its source in east-central Kansas to its confluence with the Little Osage River near Schell City, Missouri, where it becomes the Osage River and flows in an easterly direction into the Missouri River downstream of Jefferson City, Missouri. The basin is about 250 miles long, as much as 100 miles wide, with a drainage area of 15,300 square miles. A little less than a third of that area is in Kansas.
Full Description (National Drought Study case study)


National Drought Study

After the droughts of 1988, Congress authorized the Corps to carry out a nationwide survey with the goal of finding a better way to manage water during drought. The National Study of Water Management During Drought (known as the National Drought Study) examined water-management practices and developed new methods for resource management and planning, thereby shifting the focus from coping with the effect of droughts to preparing for droughts in advance. Drought Preparedness Case Studies were conducted to initiate and refine new approaches. These studies led to the development of the Drought Preparedness Method.
Full Description (National Drought Study case study)

Key Features :

  • Addressed need to focus water management on planning for droughts rather than dealing with drought consequences
  • Developed Drought Preparedness Method, which was precursor to Shared Vision Planning
  • Overhauled national water-management policies

Rappahannock River Basin Commission Water Supply Planning Project

Commercial and recreational fishing; residential, commercial and industrial water withdrawals; recreational activities; and conservation efforts all take place along the Rappahannock River. This study aimed to find solutions to balance and satisfy these varied interests and activities. A Shared Vision Planning approach, including a shared vision model, was implemented because of the numerous stakeholders and interests.
Full Description (Historical case study)

Partners: Local water utility managers; Town and city managers from counties in the basin;

Key Features :

  • Large number of stakeholders and interests
  • Study addressed balancing various uses of water supply

Reservoir Operating Plan Evaluation (ROPE) Study for the Mississippi Headwaters

In 2001, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the U.S. Forest Service began a jointly sponsored, long-range reservoir operating plan study for the Mississippi River Headwaters. The nine-reservoir system is guided by operation plans last updated forty or more years ago, when uses of the water resource were markedly different. Since 1960 land use, flood damage potential and navigation demands have changed; and recreational, tribal, and environmental uses of the water resource have gained importance.
Full Description (Historical case study)

Partners: Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe; Minnesota Department of Natural Resources; Mississippi Headwater Board; Private power companies; United States Department of Agriculture-Forest Service; USACE MVP;

Key Features :

  • Co-sponsored with Forest Service
  • Corps district in lead role
  • IWR providing technical assistance
  • Linkage with HEC-PRM

RiverWare Application Development for the Upper Rio Grande Water Operations Management Program (URGWOMP)

This project for the Upper Rio Grande Water Operations Management Program is converting the existing daily operations model into a monthly time step for faster operation in a more user-friendly software package. The goal is to use a lower-precision model in public settings with a range of stakeholders.

Partners: Bureau of Reclamation; Sandia National Laboratories; SWQ; United States Geological Survey; USACE Albuquerque District;

Key Features :

  • Linkages with RiverWare and groundwater models

Susquehanna River Basin Studies (National Drought Study)

This work was a series of small efforts done in parallel with an ongoing Section 22 study of water supply in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, area.
Full Description (National Drought Study case study)


Upper Great Lakes Study

A follow-on to the extensive Shared Vision Planning study on Lake Ontario, the International Joint Commission's Upper Great Lakes Study used a Shared Vision Planning approach to look at potential regulation schemes for the upper Great Lakes. The project objective was to maximize stakeholder participation in developing regulation plans for the Upper Great Lakes, thereby addressing various interests along these key international bodies of water.

Partners: International Joint Commission;

Key Features :

  • Large geographical scale
  • Transnational basin

Western States Water Council Long-Term Planning

This project addresses regional water issues in the West, and it focuses on collaborative, long-term planning. IWR will provide a 2-day training and information-gathering workshop for local, state, federal and WGA/WSWC staff. Based on information received from participants at the training workshop, IWR will develop a basic water balance framework demonstration model (using STELLA or Excel) for selected promising basins. IWR will also facilitate the development of a strategic plan for a future activity that would collaboratively combine state water plans into a West-wide water plan.
Full Description

Partners: SPD; SWD; USACE NWD; Western States Water Council; WGA;