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Earth Institute Research Projects

WSC-Category 3 Collaborative: America's Water-The Changing Landscape of Risk, Competing Demands and Climate

Lead PI: Dr. Upmanu Lall , Mr. Marc A. Levy , Brendan O'Flaherty

Unit Affiliation: Columbia Water Center (CWC)

August 2014 - July 2019
Inactive
North America ; United States ; Texas ; California ; Midwest United States
Project Type: Research

DESCRIPTION: Recent droughts in Texas, the Midwest and California have brought the increasing competition for water between agriculture, energy production, industry, human use and the environment into focus as a critical economic and sustainability issue for America. This project will assess the sustainability of water in America in the face of changing climate, new energy choices and technologies, economic and agricultural trends. It will explore how water dependent sectors affect and interact with the rest of the economy, and provide a conceptual framework to inform public and private decision making on water allocation, infrastructure development and regional investments in water intensive economic activities. Mathematical and statistical models will be developed that highlight water risks across the country, provide information on the trends of past and future water withdrawals and availability, and help identify where particular cropping patterns, energy development, and water infrastructure may result under a specific climate, economic and water allocation scenario, and how this configuration may perform during sustained periods of droughts and floods. The project will first assess the state of water use and how the variations in climate, energy development and economics over the last century have influenced changes in water use and its valuation across the continental USA. This assessment will look at changes in climate statistics, surface water availability and quality, pricing structure, water rights and compacts, supply augmentation and storage development, access to groundwater, energy costs, economic factors, conservation initiatives, and environmental concerns in the context of changes in water use patterns. The assessment will also measure of water risk as it relates to the geographic distribution of water use and supply, and the driving economic factors. The project will then develop an interactive modeling environment for envisioning the future evolution of water use and supply. This will consider the capacity expansion of water and energy infrastructure, potential re-allocation of cropping patterns, relative to climate, energy and economic scenarios, and prescribed water rights and allocation mechanisms and ecological needs over a 50 year or longer horizon. The project will evaluate possible market and policy-driven adaptation strategies for water sustainability at a national scale to climate, economic, and energy scenarios, while considering needs for investment in new infrastructure, conservation, and potential shifts in crops and energy use that may be induced by regional water supply constraints.

OUTCOMES: To address the initiative’s first objective, assessing America’s past and present water situation, the project team is:
- Developing a publicly available, integrated, demographic, agricultural, climate, hydraulic, energy and water rights database;
- Analyzing trends in US water consumption and supply, incorporating groundwater levels, reservoir storage, irrigated area, cropped area, crops, crop yields, crop market prices, interest rates, GDP, drought indices, national virtual water trade, energy prices and water rates among others;
- Conducting statistical/econometric modeling to see how changes in water use patterns correlate to changes in climate statistics, surface water availability and quality, pricing structure, water rights, storage, groundwater access, energy costs, economic factors, conservation initiatives and environmental concerns; what the variation of direct and indirect water costs is across the country, and how these relate to water source, quality and variability; and how the measure of water risk relates to the geographic distribution of water use and supply.

To address the second objective, the team has developed the America’s Water Analysis, Synthesis, and Heuristics (AWASH) model that connects water supply and demand to a wealth of sectors, dynamics, and decisions around water, energy, and food.

More information: http://water.columbia.edu/research-themes/americas-water/

http://awashmodel.org/

SPONSOR:

National Science Foundation (NSF)

FUNDED AMOUNT:

$2,489,186

RESEARCH TEAM:

Michael Gerrard, Lisa Goddard, Edward Cook

COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY COLLABORATORS:

Center for International Earth Science Information Network (CIESIN), International Research Institute for Climate and Society (IRI), Sabin Center for Climate Change Law, Biology & Paleo Environment (B&PE)

WEBSITE:

https://nsf.gov/awardsearch/showAward?AWD_ID=1360446&HistoricalAwards=false

PUBLICATIONS:

Sun, X., and U. Lall. "Spatially coherent trends of annual maximum daily precipitation in the United States," Geophys. Res. Lett., v.42, 2015, p. 9781. doi:10.1002/2015GL066483

Ravindranath, A., N. Devineni and P. Kolesar. "An environmental perspective on the water management policies of the Upper Delaware River Basin," Water Policy, 2016. doi:10.2166/wp.2016.166.

Etienne, E., N. Devineni, R. Khanbilvardi and U. Lall. "Development of a Demand Sensitive Drought Index and its application for agriculture over the conterminous United States," Journal of Hydrology, v.534, 2016, p. 219. doi:10.1016/j.jhydrol.2015.12.060

Ho, M., U. Lall and E. R. Cook. "Can a paleo-drought record be used to reconstruct streamflow? A case-study for the Missouri River Basin," Water Resources Research, 2016. doi:10.1002/2015WR018444

Ho, M., V. Parthasarathy, E. Etienne, T. A. Russo, N. Devineni and U. Lall. "America's Water: agricultural water demands and the response of groundwater," Geophysical Research Letters, 2016. doi:10.1002/2016GL069797

Devineni, N., U. Lall, E. Etienne, D. Shi, and C. Xi. "America's water risk: Current demand and climate variability," Geophys. Res. Lett., v.42, 2015, p. 2285. doi:10.1002/2015GL063487

Ravindranath, A., N. Devineni and P. Kolesar. "An environmental perspective on the water management policies of the Upper Delaware River Basin," Water Policy, v.18, 2016, p. 1399. doi:10.2166/wp.2016.166

Steinschneider, S., and U. Lall. "El Nino and the U.S. precipitation and floods: What was expected for the January?March 2016 winter hydroclimate that is now unfolding?," Water Resources Research, v.52, 2016, p. 1498. doi:10.1002/2015WR018470

Erkyihun, S. T., B. Rajagopalan, E. Zagona, U. Lall, and K. Nowak. "Wavelet­based time series bootstrap model for multidecadal streamflow simulation using climate indicators," Water Resources Research, v.52, 2016, p. 4061. doi:10.1002/2016WR018696

Ho, M., U. Lall and E. R. Cook. "Can a paleo-drought record be used to reconstruct streamflow? A case-study for the Missouri River Basin," Water Resources Research, v.52, 2016, p. 5195. doi:10.1002/2015WR018444

Kwon, H.-H., and U. Lall. "A copula-based nonstationary frequency analysis for the 2012?2015 drought in California," Water Resources Research, v.52, 2016, p. 5662. doi:10.1002/2016WR018959

Etienne, E., N. Devineni, R. Khanbilvardi and U. Lall. "Development of a Demand Sensitive Drought Index and its application for agriculture over the conterminous United States," Journal of Hydrology, v.534, 2016, p. 219. doi:10.1016/j.jhydrol.2015.12.060

Russo, T. and U. Lall. "Depletion and response of deep groundwater to climate induced pumping variability," Nature Geosciences, v.10, 2017, p. 105. doi:10.1038/ngeo2883

Ho, M., U. Lall, M. Allaire, N. Devineni, H. Kwon, I. Pal, D. A. Raff and D. L. Wegner. "The Future Role of Dams in the United States of America," Water Resources Research, v.53, 2017, p. 982. doi:10.1002/2016WR019905

Najibi, N., N. Devineni and M. Lu. "Hydroclimate drivers and atmospheric teleconnections of long duration floods: An application to large reservoirs in the Missouri River Basin," Advances in Water Resources, v.100, 2017, p. 153. doi:10.1016/j.advwatres.2016.12.004

Petersen, T., N. Devineni and A. Sankarasubramanian. "Monthly hydroclimatology of the continental United States," Advances in Water Resources, v.114, 2018, p. 180. doi:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.advwatres.2018.02.010

Najibi, N., and N. Devineni. "Recent trends in the frequency and duration of global floods," Earth System Dynamics, v.9, 2018, p. 757. doi:https://doi.org/10.5194/esd-9-757-2018

Ho, M., U. Lall, and E.R. Cook. "How wet and dry spells evolve across the conterminous United States based on 555 years of paleoclimate data.," Journal of Climate, v.31, 2018, p. 6633. doi:https://doi.org/10.1175/JCLI-D-18-0182.1

Zhu, X., & Troy, T. J.. "Agriculturally relevant climate extremes and their trends in the world?s major growing regions," Earth?s Future, v.6, 2018, p. 656. doi:https://doi.org/10.1002/2017EF000687

Li, X., & Troy, T. J.. "Changes in rainfed and irrigated crop yield response to climate in the western US," Environmental Research Letters, v.13, 2018. doi:https://doi.org/10.1088/1748-9326/aac4b1

Sahoo, S., T. Russo, and U. Lall. "Comment on ?Quantifying renewable groundwater stress with GRACE? by A. S. Richey et al.," Water Resources Research, v.52, 2016, p. 4184. doi:10.1002/2015WR018085

Steinschneider, S., M. Ho, E. R. Cook, and U. Lall. "A 500-year tree-ring based reconstruction of extreme cold-season precipitation and number of atmospheric river landfalls across the Southwestern," Geophysical Research Letters, v.45, 2018, p. 5672. doi:https://doi.org/10.1029/2018GL078089

Devineni, N., U. Lall, E. Etienne, D. Shi, and C. Xi. "America's water risk: Current demand and climate variability," Geophys. Res. Lett., v.42, 2015, p. 2285. doi:10.1002/2015GL063487

Wang, S., Sun, X., Lall, U.. "A hierarchical Bayesian regression model for predicting summer residential electricity demand across the U.S.A," Energy, v.140, 2018, p. 601. doi:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.energy.2017.08.076

Ho, M, U. Lall, X. Sun, and E. R. Cook. "Multiscale temporal variability and regional patterns in 555 years of conterminous US streamflow," Water Resources Research, v.53, 2017, p. 3047. doi:10.1002/2016WR019632

Devineni, N Lall, U Etienne, E Shi, D Xi, C. "America's Water Risk: Current Demand and Climate Variability," Geophysical Research Letters, v.42, 2015. doi:10.1002/2015GL063487

Armal, S., N. Devineni, and R. Khanbilvardi.. "Trends in extreme rainfall frequency in the contiguous United States: Attribution to climate change and climate variability modes," Journal of Climate, v.31, 2018, p. 369. doi:https://doi.org/10.1175/JCLI-D-17-0106.1

Steinschneider, S., M. Ho, E. R. Cook and U. Lall. "Can PDSI inform extreme precipitation?: An exploration with a 500 year long paleoclimate reconstruction over the U.S," Water Resources Research, v.52, 2016, p. 3866. doi:10.1002/2016WR018712

Sun, X., and U. Lall. "Spatially coherent trends of annual maximum daily precipitation in the United States," Geophys. Res. Lett., v.42, 2015, p. 9781. doi:10.1002/2015GL066483

Allaire, M., Wu, H., Lall, U. "National Trends in Drinking Water Quality Violations," Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, v.115, 2018, p. 2078.

Mounir William Ennenbach, Paulina Concha Larrauri, Upmanu Lall. "County?Scale Rainwater Harvesting Feasibility in the United States: Climate, Collection Area, Density, and Reuse Considerations," Journal of the American Water Resources Association, v.54, 2018, p. 255. doi:https://doi.org/10.1111/1752-1688.12607

Ho, M., V. Parthasarathy, E. Etienne, T. A. Russo, N. Devineni and U. Lall. "America's Water: agricultural water demands and the response of groundwater," Geophys. Res. Lett., v.43, 2016, p. 7546. doi:10.1002/2016GL069797

Steinschneider, S., M. Ho, E. R. Cook and U. Lall. "Can PDSI inform extreme precipitation?: An exploration with a 500 year long paleoclimate reconstruction over the U.S," Water Resources Research, v.52, 2016, p. 3866. doi:10.1002/2016WR018712

Sahoo, S., T. Russo, and U. Lall (2016). Water Resour. Res.,, v.52, 2016, p. 4184. doi:10.1002/2015WR018085

KEYWORDS

climate change energy infrastructure economics sustainable energy floods drought statistical modeling water water rights policy sustainability water allocation climate risk conservation

THEMES

Stewardship of the planet

MULTIMEDIA

Columbia Water Center's "America's Water Initiative"