CSWS February 11, 2015
The context of freshwater availability: Interrelations among water, climate, and energy
Wednesday, February 11, 2015 11:00:00 AM PST - 12:30:00 PM PST
The amount of freshwater available for ecological processes is a function of human decisions about water resources. Climate, energy, and water are fundamentally linked such that shifts in one sector have cascading impacts on the others. For example, in the Southwestern U.S., a naturally arid system, water availability is declining as a consequence of climate change and population growth. Adaptations by the water sector to convey, store, and develop new water sources (e.g. desalination, groundwater pumping, water-reuse) are designed to enhance the sector's sustainability. However, west wide, approximately 20% of total electricity generation goes toward supplying and heating water. If future investments made by the water sector continue to follow current trends, the dependence of water on energy availability will grow, meaning that the water supply will be increasingly reliant on the electricity system. This presentation is about the larger context of water availability in the United States and the interactions among water resources, climate change, and energy. We will start by discussing the main ways that people currently use water and the implications these have for water stress and its spatial distribution across the conterminous US. We then look forward, where consideration of the integrated climate-energy-water system becomes necessary to fully understand the individual risk profile of each sector. This webinar is targeted toward improving understanding of such interactions and their potential impacts on future water availability.
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