Scoping water demand for the 17 Western states and identifying types and quantities of Reclamation water deliveries

Project ID: 4240
Principal Investigator: Becky Redhorse
Research Topic: Water Resource Data Analysis
Funded Fiscal Years: 2012
Keywords: None

Research Question

What are the best ways to develop a water demand picture for the Western 17 states and water basins, and what methods have been and are being used by Reclamation and USGS under the Secure Water Act? Based on 2010 Census data being released, is the rapid Western population growth in the driest states being adequately addressed, especially for M%26I and agriculture? What approaches are being used under the WaterSmart Program and basin studies, and are there gaps between Reclamation and USGS data needs? What is the mix of primary water uses (primarily irrigation and M%26I) linked to Reclamation water deliveries and how has the mix changed each decade from 1980 to 2010? What are the best data for tracking deliveries by use type? How does the mix of Reclamation deliveries by type compare with USGS estimates? What are the emerging trends in water use deliveries and projection methodologies that would be best for developing baseline projections? What are key factors influencing water demand, aside from population change (ie, drought, water conservation, water reuse, and others).

Need and Benefit

Under the Secure Water Act, Reclamation (with USGS) has been charged with calculating how much water will be used and where conflicts or shortages would most likely occur geographically among various types of demands (ie, agriculture, M%26I, energy use, environmentl, Indian water settlements, and others). In order to support Reclamation more fully, the USGS needs data about diversion locations and transports among others. Water demand methods need to be identified by basin study as well as those used by the USGS, and under the broader WaterSmart Program. Scoping could potentially benefit basin studies, the USGS, and Reclamation WaterSmart Program by identifying what approaches are being used by which entities/studies, strengths and weaknesses of various approaches, and what data sources exist; all information that could later be used to standardize approaches among various efforts, and potentially assemble a clearer picture of water demand using better data with fewer resources and less time. Additionally, this scoping effort could identify whether there are overlapping efforts and methodologies related to Reclamation climate change water demand projections. Water demand research could lead to better decisions Reclamation-wide by identifying the most efficient sources of data and best methodologies. Water demand research and analysis could lend greater credibility to Reclamation water demand analyses.

Contributing Partners

Contact the Principal Investigator for information about partners.

Research Products

A report would be completed summarizing current Reclamation, USGS, other relevant agency efforts, and academia in water demand approaches and analyses. Various data needs, gaps, and methodologies for deriving or locating data sources for water demands by delivery types would be described with overall findings and recommendations.

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Last Updated: 4/4/17