Water Resources Research Act Program

Details for Project ID 2016TX501B

Connecting Climate Variability with Water Supply Reliability: A Case Study in the Trinity River Basin, Texas

Institute: Texas
Year Established: 2016 Start Date: 2016-03-01 End Date: 2017-02-28
Total Federal Funds: $5,000 Total Non-Federal Funds: $10,000

Principal Investigators: Gang Zhao, Huilin Gao

Abstract: Supplying water to two of the top ten largest cities in the U.S. (i.e. Dallas and Houston), the Trinity River Basin (TRB) plays an important role in the Texas’ growth. To meet the needs from the increasing water demand, and to mitigate flood risks, a number of reservoirs have been constructed during the past 60 years. Due to global warming, the climate has become extremely variable, which has exacerbated the frequency and magnitude of extreme events (e.g., flood and drought). Therefore, the objective of this study is to evaluate how climate variability and population growth will impact water supply reliability in the TRB. To this end, future forcings generated from an ensemble of General Circulation Models (GCMs) under different Representative Concentration Pathways (RCP) scenarios will be used to drive a fully distributed hydrologic model, which has a multi-purpose reservoir module. The Quantile Mapping Downscaling method will be adopted to represent the climatic heterogeneity at a fine scale. Results for future time periods will be analyzed and compared with the historical baseline to exploit the long-term trend. Accordingly, optimal plans to improve the adaptive capacity of the water supply—while mitigating the losses due to disasters in the TRB—will be recommended.