Guardians of the Reservoir Challenge webinar this week

The Bureau of Reclamation’s Guardians of the Reservoir Challenge webinar will take place this Thursday, September 10th, at noon EST.

Reservoirs are bodies of stored fresh water that typically form behind dams. They are a critical water source, supplying farms with irrigation and providing potable water to people and homes. 

Increasingly, they are also an important component of outdoor, water-based recreation.

As rivers flow, they naturally carry along sediment (clay, silt, sand, and gravel). When rivers are dammed, sediments are deposited in the reservoirs that form behind dams.

Sand and gravel deposit at the upstream end of reservoirs and form deltas that also extend upstream beyond the full reservoir pool.

Clay and silt deposit farther downstream along the reservoir bottom and all the way to the dam.

Over time, these sediment deposits build-up to the point where they significantly reduce a reservoir’s storage capacity and may prevent the proper function of dam outlets and reservoir water intakes. 

Without intervention, reservoirs eventually become filled with deposits, which means water is no longer being stored for future use.

The Bureau of Reclamation, in collaboration with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, is running a three-phase challenge called “Guardians of the Reservoir” to find ways for removing sedimentation that accumulates in reservoirs.