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Title: Threats to a Colorado river provisioning basin under coupled future climate and societal scenarios

Abstract

Clean, reliable supplies of water are critical to the sustainability and resilience of communities, including water needed for energy and food production, industry, drinking water, and other human and ecological needs. However, water infrastructure and management in the United States are largely optimized for historic conditions—designed and operated to respond to social needs, and past mean and extreme streamflow, which may no longer apply in the future. Temperature, precipitation, ecosystem dynamics, energy and food production, and social systems are all experiencing changes, which cumulatively affect the security of water supply. Here, we examine the impact of these changes in a provisioning basin in the arid Southwest, the San Juan River, which supplies water, food, and energy to the Colorado River and the Rio Grande. Our analysis applies a multi-model framework to examine future climate and water use scenarios. Results demonstrate that the San Juan River basin could experience significant disruptions to water deliveries (-12% to -48% for the drier models) and shortages that exceed manageable thresholds (53% to 73% of water in shorted years), potentially affecting both the local basin as well as other regions that receive water and energy from the San Juan. While water stress metrics vary acrossmore » the scenarios, results indicate the need for government, industry, and communities to consider options for adapting to water supply shifts. These results raise important questions regarding the resilience of water resources in basins across the West under future scenarios and implications for energy, food, and other water supply needs.« less

Authors:
ORCiD logo [1];  [2];  [3];  [4];  [3];  [5]; ORCiD logo [1]
  1. Los Alamos National Lab. (LANL), Los Alamos, NM (United States)
  2. Sandia National Lab. (SNL-CA), Livermore, CA (United States)
  3. United States Bureau of Reclamation, Albuquerque, NM, (United States)
  4. United States Bureau of Reclamation, Durango, CO (United States)
  5. Univ. of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM (United States). Utton Transboundary Resources Center
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Los Alamos National Lab. (LANL), Los Alamos, NM (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Laboratory Directed Research and Development (LDRD) Program
OSTI Identifier:
1566108
Report Number(s):
LA-UR-18-30685
Journal ID: ISSN 2515-7620
Grant/Contract Number:  
89233218CNA000001
Resource Type:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Environmental Research Communications
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 1; Journal Issue: 9; Journal ID: ISSN 2515-7620
Publisher:
IOP Science
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
Earth Sciences; surface water hydrology, water rights, interbasin transfers, basin management, planning, water allocation, water supply, climate variability/change, environmental impacts, runoff

Citation Formats

Bennett, Katrina Eleanor, Tidwell, Vincent, Llewellyn, Dagmar, Behery, Susan, Barrett, Lucas, Stansbury, Melanie, and Middleton, Richard Stephen. Threats to a Colorado river provisioning basin under coupled future climate and societal scenarios. United States: N. p., 2019. Web. doi:10.1088/2515-7620/ab4028.
Bennett, Katrina Eleanor, Tidwell, Vincent, Llewellyn, Dagmar, Behery, Susan, Barrett, Lucas, Stansbury, Melanie, & Middleton, Richard Stephen. Threats to a Colorado river provisioning basin under coupled future climate and societal scenarios. United States. doi:10.1088/2515-7620/ab4028.
Bennett, Katrina Eleanor, Tidwell, Vincent, Llewellyn, Dagmar, Behery, Susan, Barrett, Lucas, Stansbury, Melanie, and Middleton, Richard Stephen. Wed . "Threats to a Colorado river provisioning basin under coupled future climate and societal scenarios". United States. doi:10.1088/2515-7620/ab4028. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1566108.
@article{osti_1566108,
title = {Threats to a Colorado river provisioning basin under coupled future climate and societal scenarios},
author = {Bennett, Katrina Eleanor and Tidwell, Vincent and Llewellyn, Dagmar and Behery, Susan and Barrett, Lucas and Stansbury, Melanie and Middleton, Richard Stephen},
abstractNote = {Clean, reliable supplies of water are critical to the sustainability and resilience of communities, including water needed for energy and food production, industry, drinking water, and other human and ecological needs. However, water infrastructure and management in the United States are largely optimized for historic conditions—designed and operated to respond to social needs, and past mean and extreme streamflow, which may no longer apply in the future. Temperature, precipitation, ecosystem dynamics, energy and food production, and social systems are all experiencing changes, which cumulatively affect the security of water supply. Here, we examine the impact of these changes in a provisioning basin in the arid Southwest, the San Juan River, which supplies water, food, and energy to the Colorado River and the Rio Grande. Our analysis applies a multi-model framework to examine future climate and water use scenarios. Results demonstrate that the San Juan River basin could experience significant disruptions to water deliveries (-12% to -48% for the drier models) and shortages that exceed manageable thresholds (53% to 73% of water in shorted years), potentially affecting both the local basin as well as other regions that receive water and energy from the San Juan. While water stress metrics vary across the scenarios, results indicate the need for government, industry, and communities to consider options for adapting to water supply shifts. These results raise important questions regarding the resilience of water resources in basins across the West under future scenarios and implications for energy, food, and other water supply needs.},
doi = {10.1088/2515-7620/ab4028},
journal = {Environmental Research Communications},
number = 9,
volume = 1,
place = {United States},
year = {2019},
month = {9}
}

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