Impacts of multiple stresses on water demand and supply across the southeastern United States
Assessment of long-term impacts of projected changes in climate, population, and land use and land cover on regional water resource is critical to the sustainable development of the southeastern United States. The objective of this study was to fully budget annual water availability for water supply (precipitation ) evapotranspiration + groundwater supply + return flow) and demand from commercial, domestic, industrial, irrigation, livestock, mining, and thermoelectric uses. The Water Supply Stress Index and Water Supply Stress Index Ratio were developed to evaluate water stress conditions over time and across the 666 eight-digit Hydrologic Unit Code basins in the 13 southeastern states. Predictions from two Global Circulation Models (CGC1 and HadCM2Sul), one land use change model, and one human population model, were integrated to project future water supply stress in 2020. We found that population increase greatly stressed water supply in metropolitan areas located in the Piedmont region and Florida. Predicted land use and land cover changes will have little effect on water quantity and water supply-water demand relationship. In contrast, climate changes had the most pronounced effects on regional water supply and demand, especially in western Texas where water stress was historically highest in the study region. The simulation system developed by this study is useful for water resource planners to address water shortage problems such as those experienced during 2007 in the study region. Future studies should focus on refining the water supply term to include flow exchanges between watersheds and constraints of water quality and environmental flows to water availability for human use
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