Climate change along with population growth sets the stage for water shortages in parts of the US long before the end of the century, according to a new study in the AGU journal The Future of the Earth.
The attempts to use water more efficiently in urban and industrial sectors will not be enough to stop shortage, says the authors of the new study. The results suggest that reductions in agricultural water use are likely to play the greatest role in limiting future water shortage.
The new study is part of another 10 year assessment of US Forestry from renewable resources, including timber, diversity feed, wildlife and water.
"The new study not only provides the best device for water supply and demand in the future but also looks at what we can do to reduce the projected shortage," said Thomas Brown of a Research Station Rocky Mountain, US Forest Service, and the study leader.
To do that, researchers used a variety of global climate models to look at future climate scenarios and how they will be likely to affect water supplies and supplies. They are also included in population growth.
On the water supply side, the authors used a water product model to estimate how much water would be available to use across the country, and modeled how that water would be & # 39; It will be distributed to inter-stream and offstream uses or stored in reservoirs to use in the future.
The new study finds climate change and population growth will be likely to present serious challenges in some regions in the United States, especially the Great and Central Plains, the United States of the West and Rocky Rocky Mountains , and California, and also some areas in the South and West Midlands.
The heart of the new analysis is a comparison of the future water supply against the demand for estimated water in different sectors that use water, such as industry and agriculture.
The study finds that in the majority of water use sectors there are likely reductions in per capita consumption rates, but will not be sufficient to avoid current water shortage due to the combined effects of population growth and climate change.
The study's authors looked at a variety of adaptation strategies for mitigating projected water shortages, such as increasing the storage capacity of a reservoir, pumping more water out of groundwater aquifers, diverting more water from streams and rivers. Increase the volume of reservoirs does not look promising for water shortages far, especially in parts of the US that are expected to get drier as climate change goes on.
"When water is a limiting factor, it is unlikely that the expansion of a reservoir will store any water," said Brown.
Further reductions in ground reservoirs and more flow flow diversions could help to mitigate shortages in the future in many areas but bring serious social and environmental costs. If those costs are avoided, improvements in irrigation efficiency will need to be a high priority, and further transfers of water from agriculture to other sectors will be likely to be essential, says the study's authors.
Brown warnings that people should not read too much in the report about their local water supplies. The new study is large water model models and does not look at what will happen on a city or county scale.
Materials provided by American Geophysical Union. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.