Mapping water availability, projected use and cost in the western United States

V.C. Tidwell, B.D. Moreland, K.M. Zemlick, B.L. Roberts, H.D. Passell, D. Jensen, C. Forsgren, G. Sehlke, M.A. Cook, C.W. King and S. Larsen., May 2014 (Citation)

Abstract

New demands for water can be satisfied through a variety of source options. In some basins surface and/or groundwater may be available through permitting with the state water management agency (termed unappropriated water), alternatively water might be purchased and transferred out of its current use to another (termed appropriated water), or non-traditional water sources can be captured and treated (e.g., wastewater). The relative availability and cost of each source are key factors in the development decision. Unfortunately, these measures are location dependent with no consistent or comparable set of data available for evaluating competing water sources. With the help of western water managers, water availability was mapped for over 1200 watersheds throughout the western US. Five water sources were individually examined, including unappropriated surface water, unappropriated groundwater, appropriated water, municipal wastewater and brackish groundwater. Also mapped was projected change in consumptive water use from 2010 to 2030. Associated costs to acquire, convey and treat the water, as necessary, for each of the five sources were estimated. These metrics were developed to support regional water planning and policy analysis with initial application to electric transmission planning in the western US.

Citation

V.C. Tidwell, B.D. Moreland, K.M. Zemlick, B.L. Roberts, H.D. Passell, D. Jensen, C. Forsgren, G. Sehlke, M.A. Cook, C.W. King, and S. Larsen,  “Mapping Water Availability, Projected Use and Cost in the Western United States.” Environ. Res. Lett.  9 064009 (2014).