Paper No. 2
Presentation Time: 8:15 AM
POTENTIAL FUTURE DROUGHT IMPACTS ON WATER AVAILABILITY IN TEXAS-GULF BASIN
The Texas, as one of the fastest growing states in population and energy production, recently experienced a severe drought in 2011, the worst drought in the history of Texas. As a consequence of the extreme climate event, reduction of power generation, regulatory suspension of water rights and profound ecological impacts were observed due to water shortage during and thereafter the drought. To improve understanding of potential risk of decreasing water supply and energy production at Texas, an assessment of water availability and its potential impacts on power generation during drought was performed. In this impact analysis, we identified three drought scenarios based on historical drought records and projected climate from the GFDL and the PCM global climate models, for greenhouse gas emission scenarios A1B, A2, and B1 defined by the IPCC. The three drought scenarios include (1) 2011 drought conditions (the worst drought in history), with the current level of water use; (2) a single-year drought (2022) projected for the period of 2020-2030, with the assumed projected water use level for 2030; and (3) a multiple-year drought constructed with climate data for 1950-1957 and water demand projected for 2030. The projected drought scenario in 2022 and the historical droughts in 2011 and 1950-1957 represent two different precipitation patterns in the Texas-Gulf river basin.
A hydrologic model was constructed for the Texas-Gulf river basin by incorporating climate and water use data corresponding to three drought scenarios, respectively, and 125 reservoirs currently supporting water withdrawal for various sectors and cooling water for power generation. The model outputs provide a base to identify vulnerable watersheds that have low water availability for the water demand required in the area and low-storage reservoirs that are at risk of providing insufficient water supply for thermoelectric cooling and other water users. The spatial distribution of the potentially vulnerable watershed and reservoirs further suggest that drought impacted areas are highly correlated with the high-population areas at the vicinity of the large metropolitan areas in Texas. The results of this impact analysis provide insights for long-term power generation planning as well as spatial water constraints on regional economic development.