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Title: Integrated Assessment of Global Water Scarcity over the 21st Century under Multiple Climate Change Mitigation Policies

Water scarcity conditions over the 21st century both globally and regionally are assessed in the context of climate change, by estimating both water availability and water demand within the Global Change Assessment Model (GCAM), a leading community integrated assessment model of energy, agriculture, climate, and water. To quantify changes in future water availability, a new gridded water-balance global hydrologic model – namely, the Global Water Availability Model (GWAM) – is developed and evaluated. Global water demands for six major demand sectors (irrigation, livestock, domestic, electricity generation, primary energy production, and manufacturing) are modeled in GCAM at the regional scale (14 geopolitical regions, 151 sub-regions) and then spatially downscaled to 0.5 o x 0.5o resolution to match the scale of GWAM. Using a baseline scenario (i.e., no climate change mitigation policy) with radiative forcing reaching 8.8 W/m2 (equivalent to the SRES A1Fi emission scenario) and a global population of 14 billion by 2095, global annual water demand grows from about 9% of total annual renewable freshwater in 2005 to about 32% by 2095. This results in almost half of the world population living under extreme water scarcity by the end of the 21st century. Regionally, the demand for water exceeds themore » amount of water availability in two GCAM regions, the Middle East and India. Additionally, in years 2050 and 2095, 20% and 27% of the global population, respectively, is projected to live in areas (grid cells) that will experience greater water demands than the amount of available water in a year (i.e., the water scarcity index (WSI) > 1.0). This study implies an increasingly prominent role for water in future human decisions, and highlights the importance of including water in integrated assessment of global change.« less
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Journal Article
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Journal Name: Hydrology and Earth System Sciences, 18(8):2859-2883
Research Org:
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), Richland, WA (US)
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Country of Publication:
United States
water demand, water availability, global scale, downscaling, water scarcity, GCAM, integrated assessment