Water Resources Research Act Program

Details for Project ID 2012NC167B

An Integrated Framework for Assessing the Dynamics of Population Growth, Land Use and Climate Change for Urban Water Resources Management

Institute: North Carolina
Year Established: 2012 Start Date: 2012-03-01 End Date: 2013-02-28
Total Federal Funds: $31,078 Total Non-Federal Funds: $37,347

Principal Investigators: Emily Zechman, Sankarasubramanian Arumugam

Abstract: The management of water resources requires careful planning to balance water supply and demand. Under increasing population growth and land use change through urbanization, water shortages may become increasingly frequent, and climate change will alter the availability and timing of water from expected levels. While long-term water supply planning is conventionally based on projections of population growth, demands, and system capacity under a stationary climate, the sustainability of water resources depends on the dynamic interactions among the environmental, technological, and social characteristics of the water system and local population. These interactions can cause supply-demand imbalances at various temporal scales, and the response of consumers to water use regulations will impact future water availability. To address the challenges of water resources management and provide insight to system dynamics, new modeling is needed that goes beyond simple assumptions on water availability, population growth and demand increases, to explicitly incorporate the feedbacks among these systems and their impacts on water availability. The research proposed here will develop an integrated urban water management framework with capabilities to evaluate demandside and supply-side management strategies. The framework will couple engineering and hydroclimatology models with complex adaptive system modeling techniques to capture social dynamics. The objectives of the proposal are to 1) develop a dynamic modeling approach to understand the supply-demand dynamics and feedbacks arising from urban growth dynamics, consumer behaviors, and potential changes in climate and land use; and 2) apply the framework for the Falls Lake for analyzing the system reliability as well as to investigate the utility of water shortage response plan and supply-side management scenarios under increased population and climate change scenarios. This integrated framework will provide critical insights for water utility operators and stakeholders about how the interactions of management plans with climate change, land use change, population growth, and consumer behaviors impact the long-term water supply sustainability and will provide system response predictions under alternate Water Shortage Response Plans.