skip to main content

DOE PAGESDOE PAGES

Title: Projections of water stress based on an ensemble of socioeconomic growth and climate change scenarios: A case study in Asia

The sustainability of future water resources is of paramount importance and is affected by many factors, including population, wealth and climate. Inherent in current methods to estimate these factors in the future is the uncertainty of their prediction. In this study, we integrate a large ensemble of scenarios—internally consistent across economics, emissions, climate, and population—to develop a risk portfolio of water stress over a large portion of Asia that includes China, India, and Mainland Southeast Asia in a future with unconstrained emissions. We isolate the effects of socioeconomic growth from the effects of climate change in order to identify the primary drivers of stress on water resources. We find that water needs related to socioeconomic changes, which are currently small, are likely to increase considerably in the future, often overshadowing the effect of climate change on levels of water stress. As a result, there is a high risk of severe water stress in densely populated watersheds by 2050, compared to recent history. There is strong evidence to suggest that, in the absence of autonomous adaptation or societal response, a much larger portion of the region’s population will live in water-stressed regions in the near future. Lastly, tools and studies suchmore » as these can effectively investigate large-scale system sensitivities and can be useful in engaging and informing decision makers.« less
Authors:
 [1] ;  [1] ;  [1] ;  [1] ;  [1] ;  [2]
  1. Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA (United States)
  2. Univ. of Washington, Seattle, WA (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
1255116
Grant/Contract Number:
FG02-94ER61937
Type:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
PLoS ONE
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 11; Journal Issue: 3; Journal ID: ISSN 1932-6203
Publisher:
Public Library of Science
Research Org:
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Science (SC)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
54 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES climate change; water resources; agricultural irrigation; India; China; surface water; Asia; economics