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Open Access Publications from the University of California

A Water Balance Model to Estimate Flow Through the Old and Middle River Corridor


We applied a water balance model to predict tidally averaged (subtidal) flows through the Old River and Middle River corridor in the Sacramento–San Joaquin Delta. We reviewed the dynamics that govern subtidal flows and water levels and adopted a simplified representation. In this water balance approach, we estimated ungaged flows as linear functions of known (or specified) flows. We assumed that subtidal storage within the control volume varies because of fortnightly variation in subtidal water level, Delta inflow, and barometric pressure. The water balance model effectively predicts subtidal flows and approaches the accuracy of a 1–D Delta hydrodynamic model. We explore the potential to improve the approach by representing more complex dynamics and identify possible future improvements.


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