Journal cover Journal topic
Hydrology and Earth System Sciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-2018-140
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
Research article
09 May 2018
Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Hydrology and Earth System Sciences (HESS).
Evaluating impacts of climate change on future water scarcity in an intensively managed semi-arid region using a coupled model of biophysical processes and water rights
Bangshuai Han1, Shawn G. Benner2,3, and Alejandro N. Flores2,3 1Natural Resources and Environmental Management, Ball State University, Muncie, IN, 47304
2Geosciences, Boise State University, Boise, ID, 83725, USA
3Human-Environment Systems, Boise State University, Boise ID, 83725, USA
Abstract. In semiarid and arid regions with intensively managed water supplies, water scarcity is a product of interactions between complex biophysical processes and human activities. Evaluating water scarcity under climate change necessitates modeling how these coupled processes interact and redistribute waters in the system under alternative climate conditions. A particular challenge on the climate input lies in adequately capturing the plausible range of variability of future climate change along with central tendencies. This study generates a large ensemble of daily climate realizations by combining a stochastic weather generator, historical climate observations, and statistically downscaled General Circulation Model projections. Three climate change scenario groups, reflecting the historical, RCP4.5, and RCP8.5 conditions, are developed. A modeling framework is built using the Envision alternative futures modeling platform to 1) explicitly capture the spatiotemporally varying irrigation activities as constrained by local water rights; and 2) project water scarcity patterns under climate change. The study area is the Treasure Valley, an irrigation-intensive semi-arid human-environment system. Climate projections for the region show future increases in both precipitation and temperature. The projected increase in temperature has a significant influence on the increase of the allocated and unsatisfied irrigation amount. Projected changes in precipitation produce more modest responses. The scenarios identify spatially distinct areas more sensitive to water scarcity, highlight the importance of climate change as a driver of scarcity, and identify potential shortcomings of the current water management. The approach of creating climate ensembles overcomes deficiencies of using a few or mean values of individual GCM realizations.
Citation: Han, B., Benner, S. G., and Flores, A. N.: Evaluating impacts of climate change on future water scarcity in an intensively managed semi-arid region using a coupled model of biophysical processes and water rights, Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci. Discuss., https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-2018-140, in review, 2018.
Bangshuai Han et al.
Bangshuai Han et al.

Data sets

Data for Evaluating Impacts of Climate Change on Future Water Scarcity in Treasure Valley, Idaho, Using a Coupled Model of Biophysical Processes and Water Rights B. Han, S. G. Benner, and A. N. Flores https://doi.org/10.18122/B20133
Bangshuai Han et al.

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Short summary
Water scarcity is critical in semiarid regions with intensively managed water supplies. Climate change and water allocation laws, along with hydrological processes determine the spatial and temporal water scarcity patterns. We present a new efficient method that captures plausible variability of climate change, while explicitly capturing the complex irrigation activities as constrained by local water rights. It will be useful for semi-arid watersheds to project future water scarcity patterns.
Water scarcity is critical in semiarid regions with intensively managed water supplies. Climate...
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