Science Inventory

A novel approach for examining future US domestic water demand


Pickard, B., M. Nash, J. Baynes, AND M. Mehaffey. A novel approach for examining future US domestic water demand. US-IALE 2016 Annual Meeting, Asheville, NC, April 03 - 07, 2016.


In this abstract we describe a new approach for projecting water demand into the year 2090. The information will be incorporated into the EnviroAtlas as part of the futures indicators and time slider widget. The indicator will be part of a national task milestone and EnviroAtlas tool deliverable.


Costs of repairing and expanding aging infrastructure and competing demands for water from other sectors such as industry and agriculture are stretching policy makers’ abilities to meet essential domestic drinking water needs for future generations. Using Bayesian statistical modeling on past and present water use we project future domestic water demand in the context of four climate scenarios developed by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) as part of their Special Report on Emissions Scenarios (SRES). We then compare 2010 demand to the projected estimates of domestic water demand for the years 2030, 2060 and 2090 for the four SRES scenarios. We found that the number of counties exceeding 50% or more demand over 2010 levels increased through 2090 for two of the scenarios and plateau in 2050 for the other two. The counties experiencing these large increases in water demand were concentrated in the states of California, Texas, and isolated portions of the Mid-West, South East, and Mid-Atlantic. Closer examination of the spatial distribution of these high demand counties showed that they are typically found around or adjacent to metropolitan centers, potentially putting greater stress on already taxed systems. Identifying counties within the United States that may be vulnerable to significant increases in domestic water demand allows for adaptive management policies to be considered and priority areas to be identified and planned for by local decision makers.

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Record Details:

Product Published Date: 04/07/2016
Record Last Revised: 04/13/2016
OMB Category: Other
Record ID: 311838