Get our newsletters

Basinwide Delaware study on climate change begins


The Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) has announced the start of a basinwide study to explore the feasibility of additional freshwater storage to meet future water availability, climate adaptation, drought management and flow management needs.

Mott MacDonald was selected through a competitive process to perform the required planning and engineering services to support DRBC staff.

“The Delaware River Basin Compact authorizes the DRBC to conduct and sponsor research on the basin’s water resources, specific to their use, planning, conservation and protection,” said DRBC Executive Director Steve Tambini. “DRBC’s water resource management programs ensure that we plan for water security in the basin, now and into the future.”

In addition to the traditional water resource planning drivers to address designated uses such as recreation, public water supply, industry, agriculture and aquatic habitat, the commission recognizes that the basin will be impacted by climate change. The basin is expected to experience changes in the seasonality and volume of streamflows. The Delaware River is subject to tidal influence below Trenton, N.J. and Morrisville, Pa., and sea level rise will impact the location of the salt front in the Delaware River Estuary. The availability of adequate freshwater storage is critical to manage complex water needs including the management of salinity in the estuary.

The study complements the ongoing F.E. Walter Reevaluation Study, being led by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, with DRBC as one of the nonfederal sponsors. The DRBC has publicly supported maintaining and protecting the existing uses of the F.E. Walter Reservoir for flood risk management and recreation and has affirmed and recognized the value of the existing uses to the region and to the basin.

The study is expected to take about 18 months.

Join our readers whose generous donations are making it possible for you to read our news coverage. Help keep local journalism alive and our community strong. Donate today.