Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

New Water Management Tool May Help Ease Effects of Drought

13.11.2009
Continued improvement of climate forecasts is resulting in better information about what rainfall and streamflow may look like months in advance.

A researcher from North Carolina State University has developed an innovative water management framework that would take advantage of these forecasts to plan for droughts or excess rain in order to make the most efficient use of an area’s water resources.

By using climate forecasts for short-term planning, water managers can better plan for potential shortages due to drought, says Dr. Sankar Arumugam, an assistant professor of civil, construction and environmental engineering at NC State and lead author of the paper.

For example, managers could encourage stakeholders to put water-use restrictions in place and launch a water conservation campaign before the drought even arrives. Managers could also use this approach to determine how best to take advantage of surplus water supplies. For example, hydropower facilities could generate additional power instead of spilling the excess water. Arumugam notes that the use of forecasts for planning would also make water managers better able to account for increased water demands due to population growth.

“Our paper proposes a framework that would use forecast data to improve water management, allowing water managers to be proactive with their planning rather than reacting to events after the fact,” Arumugam says. Water managers at the federal, state and local level determine how much water can be allotted to various uses, such as hydropower, agriculture, municipal use, recreation and the protection of aquatic species.

Arumugam says advances in the understanding of how changes in ocean temperature affect the atmosphere and, ultimately, precipitation and temperature, make seasonal or longer-term climate forecasts increasingly reliable. At the same time, Arumugam says, water management is becoming more important due to increasing global population – which means greater water demand – and global climate change, which could stress both humid and arid regions with the former getting wetter and the latter becoming drier.

The proposed framework acknowledges that climate forecasts contain an element of uncertainty, and attempts to mitigate that uncertainty by incorporating water contracts. “These contracts give end-users, such as farmers and municipalities, some idea of what they can expect – allowing them to plan accordingly based on the uncertainty in the climate forecasts,” Arumugam says, “It also offers insurance in the form of compensation if the forecast is incorrect and water managers cannot meet the terms of the contract.” Similarly, Arumugam explains, if the forecast is accurate and the terms of the contract are met, water managers will have made the most efficient use of the available water resources and will receive a performance fee from the end-users who were party to the contract.

“Although there is uncertainty associated with forecasts, they are correct over the long term, and using this framework would result in long-term benefits for both water users and managers,” Arumugam says. For example, the researchers performed a case study looking at the state of Ceara in Brazil, which is an arid region that receives little or no rainfall from June through the following January. “We found there would be significant benefits for the region, primarily in alleviating the vulnerability of poor farming communities if this framework was implemented,” Arumugam says.

The study, “Improved Water Allocation Utilizing Probabilistic Climate Forecasts: Short Term Water Contracts in a Risk Management Framework,” was co-authored by Arumugam, Dr. Upmanu Lall of Columbia University, Dr. Francisco Assis Souza Filho of the Federal University of Fortaleza and Dr. Ashish Sharma of the University of New South Wales. The research was funded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and published in the Nov. 11 issue of Water Resources Research.

-shipman-

Note to editors: The study abstract follows.

“Improved Water Allocation Utilizing Probabilistic Climate Forecasts: Short Term Water Contracts in a Risk Management Framework”

Authors: A. Sankarasubramanian, North Carolina State University; Upmanu Lall, Columbia University; Francisco Assis Souza Filho, Federal University of Fortaleza; Ashish Sharma, University of New South Wales

Published: Nov. 11, 2009, Water Resources Research

Abstract: Probabilistic, seasonal to inter-annual streamflow forecasts are becoming increasingly available as the ability to model climate teleconnections is improving. However, water managers and practitioners have been slow to adopt such products, citing concerns with forecast skill. Essentially, a management risk is perceived in “gambling” with operations using a probabilistic forecast, while a system failure upon following existing operating policies is “protected” by the official rules or guidebook. In the presence of a prescribed system of prior allocation of releases under different storage or water availability conditions, the manager has little incentive to change. Innovation in allocation and operation is hence key to improved risk management using such forecasts. A participatory water allocation process that can effectively use probabilistic forecasts as part of an adaptive management strategy is introduced here. Users can express their demand for water through statements that cover the quantity needed at a particular reliability, the temporal distribution of the “allocation”, the associated willingness to pay, and compensation in the event of contract non-performance. The water manager then assesses feasible allocations using the probabilistic forecast that try to meet these criteria across all users. An iterative process between users and water manager could be used to formalize a set of short term contracts that represent the resulting prioritized water allocation strategy over the operating period for which the forecast was issued. These contracts can be used to allocate water each year/season beyond long term contracts that may have precedence. Thus, integrated supply and demand management can be achieved. In this paper, a single period multi-user optimization model that can support such an allocation process is presented. The application of this conceptual model is explored using data for the Jaguaribe Metropolitan Hydro System in Ceara, Brazil. The performance relative to the current allocation process is assessed in the context of whether such a model could support the proposed short term contract based participatory process. A synthetic forecasting example is also used to explore the relative roles of forecast skill and reservoir storage in this framework.

Matt Shipman | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.ncsu.edu

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Litter is present throughout the world’s oceans: 1,220 species affected
27.03.2017 | Alfred-Wegener-Institut, Helmholtz-Zentrum für Polar- und Meeresforschung

nachricht International network connects experimental research in European waters
21.03.2017 | Leibniz-Institut für Gewässerökologie und Binnenfischerei (IGB)

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Giant Magnetic Fields in the Universe

Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.

The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.

Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...

Im Focus: Tracing down linear ubiquitination

Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.

Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...

Im Focus: Perovskite edges can be tuned for optoelectronic performance

Layered 2D material improves efficiency for solar cells and LEDs

In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...

Im Focus: Polymer-coated silicon nanosheets as alternative to graphene: A perfect team for nanoelectronics

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...

Im Focus: Researchers Imitate Molecular Crowding in Cells

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

International Land Use Symposium ILUS 2017: Call for Abstracts and Registration open

20.03.2017 | Event News

CONNECT 2017: International congress on connective tissue

14.03.2017 | Event News

ICTM Conference: Turbine Construction between Big Data and Additive Manufacturing

07.03.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Northern oceans pumped CO2 into the atmosphere

27.03.2017 | Earth Sciences

Fingerprint' technique spots frog populations at risk from pollution

27.03.2017 | Life Sciences

Big data approach to predict protein structure

27.03.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>