Comparing Potential Climate Futures and Predicted Impacts on Water Demand

Authors:

  • Jack Kiefer and John Clayton - Hazen and Sawyer

The demand for water is sensitive to weather and climate. Understanding the role of climate in shaping water demands is critical for evaluating the potential impacts of climate change. The recently completed Water Research Foundation Project 4263, Analysis of Changes in Water Use Under Regional Climate Change Scenarios, explored the impacts of climate-change-impacted weather on water demand for multiple utilities across the nation. This paper will present detailed climate change/demand impact analyses for Tampa Bay Water, one of the utilities participating in this project as a case study.

The paper will use data provided by and developed for case study utility service areas, and for Tampa Bay Water in particular, to:

• Portray differences in weather-sensitive demands for water and how geographical differences in climate in large degree affect these differences
• Summarize approaches for modeling the influence of climate and the response to variability in weather conditions
• Review a process for selecting climate change scenarios from the wide range of those that are available
• Summarize projections of future weather conditions implied by alternative climate change scenarios
• Compare differences in predictions of water consumption under these climate change scenarios

The paper will also

• Review the possible implications of predicted changes in water demand,
• Illustrate the potential significance of climate change impacts with respect to climate change uncertainty and future economic uncertainty, and
• Offer principal conclusions and recommendations regarding options for adaptation and future research needs.

These conclusions will emphasize the Tampa Bay Water case study as indicative of weather/demand relationships and potential climate change impacts on demand for south and central Florida as a whole.

For more information, please contact the author at jkiefer@hazenandsawyer.com.

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