Water Resources Research Act Program

Details for Project ID 2012GA324G

Integrated Hydrogeologic models for Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation in the Southeast US

Institute: Georgia
USGS Grant Number:
Year Established: 2013 Start Date: 2012-09-01 End Date: 2014-08-30
Total Federal Funds: $249,978 Total Non-Federal Funds: $257,000

Principal Investigators: Aris Georgakakos, Jian Luo

Abstract: The Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint (ACF) River Basin has been the subject of multi-year water allocation negotiations among the states of Alabama, Georgia, and Florida. These negotiations have been unsuccessful for two main reasons: (1) There are lingering significant uncertainties regarding the ACF basin hydrologic response to various water use scenarios, and (2) water allocation negotiations have taken a top-down approach by the states Governors and lead state agencies, without comprehensive involvement of the primary stakeholders on the ground. The proposed project aims to contribute in both of these areas. First, we propose to address the most critical information gap which pertains to surface watergroundwater interaction, by developing and testing (in collaboration with USGS) an integrated hydrogeologic modeling and assessment system, the purpose of which will be to quantify the internal water system response to external climate, demographic, and land/water use stresses. Second, in addition to making this technical tool available to the lead state agencies, we propose to support a recently initiated stakeholder organization (a 501(c)3 nonprofit), called ACF Stakeholders (ACFS, providing the cost sharing portion of this project) in their on-going effort to formulate sustainable and shared vision management and adaptation strategies and develop a consensus water sharing plan. Specific objectives (project tasks) include: Development of a comprehensive and dynamic information system that includes historical and alternative future scenarios of climate and water use; Development and calibration of integrated process models that can assess the combined water quantity response of surface water and groundwater resources to climate and water use scenarios; Support of stakeholder-driven decision processes toward the development of shared-vision and sustainable resource development and management plans. Project results and benefits will include new knowledge and information products pertaining to assessment of the effects of variability in climate, geology, and human activities on water availability and management of groundwater and surface water resources in the ACF River Basin. On the basis of this information, the project will also develop recommendations for better institutional coordination and drought management. The proposed process, research methods, tools, and experience will be directly applicable to any river basin. Research contributions will be disseminated through normal academic channels (books, monographs, and journal and conference articles), the World Wide Web, and general stakeholder workshops. Furthermore, the USGS has prioritized the ACF river basin as one of the study regions of its WaterSMART national initiative. The proposed project will aim to bring to bear the experience and expertise of both the Georgia Water Science Center at USGS and GWRI to address the existing information and science gaps, and to support on-going stakeholder planning processes.