skip to main content
OSTI.GOV title logo U.S. Department of Energy
Office of Scientific and Technical Information

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

Abstract

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:
Research Org.:
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Science (SC)
OSTI Identifier:
1255116
Grant/Contract Number:  
FG02-94ER61937
Resource Type:
Journal Article: 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
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
54 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES; climate change; water resources; agricultural irrigation; India; China; surface water; Asia; economics

Citation Formats

Fant, Charles, Schlosser, C. Adam, Gao, Xiang, Strzepek, Kenneth, Reilly, John, and Ebi, Kristie L. Projections of water stress based on an ensemble of socioeconomic growth and climate change scenarios: A case study in Asia. United States: N. p., 2016. Web. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0150633.
Fant, Charles, Schlosser, C. Adam, Gao, Xiang, Strzepek, Kenneth, Reilly, John, & Ebi, Kristie L. Projections of water stress based on an ensemble of socioeconomic growth and climate change scenarios: A case study in Asia. United States. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0150633
Fant, Charles, Schlosser, C. Adam, Gao, Xiang, Strzepek, Kenneth, Reilly, John, and Ebi, Kristie L. Wed . "Projections of water stress based on an ensemble of socioeconomic growth and climate change scenarios: A case study in Asia". United States. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0150633. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1255116.
@article{osti_1255116,
title = {Projections of water stress based on an ensemble of socioeconomic growth and climate change scenarios: A case study in Asia},
author = {Fant, Charles and Schlosser, C. Adam and Gao, Xiang and Strzepek, Kenneth and Reilly, John and Ebi, Kristie L.},
abstractNote = {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 such as these can effectively investigate large-scale system sensitivities and can be useful in engaging and informing decision makers.},
doi = {10.1371/journal.pone.0150633},
url = {https://www.osti.gov/biblio/1255116}, journal = {PLoS ONE},
issn = {1932-6203},
number = 3,
volume = 11,
place = {United States},
year = {2016},
month = {3}
}

Journal Article:
Free Publicly Available Full Text
Publisher's Version of Record

Citation Metrics:
Cited by: 8 works
Citation information provided by
Web of Science

Save / Share:

Works referenced in this record:

Future long-term changes in global water resources driven by socio-economic and climatic changes
journal, April 2007


The implications of climate policy for the impacts of climate change on global water resources
journal, May 2011


Analysis of climate policy targets under uncertainty
journal, September 2011


Future cereal production in China: The interaction of climate change, water availability and socio-economic scenarios
journal, February 2009


The impacts of climate change on water resources and agriculture in China
journal, September 2010


Mapping vulnerability to multiple stressors: climate change and globalization in India
journal, December 2004


Quantifying the Likelihood of Regional Climate Change: A Hybridized Approach
journal, May 2013


Improvements to the Community Land Model and their impact on the hydrological cycle: COMMUNITY LAND MODEL HYDROLOGY
journal, March 2008


Development and validation of the global map of irrigation areas
journal, January 2005


Development of a 50-Year High-Resolution Global Dataset of Meteorological Forcings for Land Surface Modeling
journal, July 2006


Constraining climate model parameters from observed 20th century changes
journal, January 2008


THE WCRP CMIP3 Multimodel Dataset: A New Era in Climate Change Research
journal, September 2007


Improving the global precipitation record: GPCP Version 2.1
journal, January 2009


A More Rational Climatic Moisture Index*
journal, February 1992


History and Evaluation of Hargreaves Evapotranspiration Equation
journal, February 2003


Modeling U.S. water resources under climate change: BLANC ET AL.
journal, April 2014


A Nearest Neighbor Bootstrap For Resampling Hydrologic Time Series
journal, March 1996


    Works referencing / citing this record:

    Water Resource Planning Under Future Climate and Socioeconomic Uncertainty in the Cauvery River Basin in Karnataka, India
    journal, February 2018


    Description and Evaluation of the MIT Earth System Model (MESM)
    journal, August 2018


    Toward a consistent modeling framework to assess multi-sectoral climate impacts
    journal, February 2018


    Humans drive future water scarcity changes across all Shared Socioeconomic Pathways
    journal, January 2020