Water Resources Vulnerability Assessment Accounting for Human Influence

Friday, 19 December 2014: 11:50 AM
Ali Mehran and Amir AghaKouchak, University of California Irvine, Irvine, CA, United States
Reservoirs are one of the main infrastructures that provide resilience against extremes (e.g., floods and droughts) and they play a key role in water resources management. Based on International Commission of Large Dams (ICOLD 2003) records, the total volume of reservoirs is over 6200 km3, which is twice larger than the global annual water use estimated as 3000 km3. Just a simple comparison of the two numbers indicates the importance of reservoirs and their role in providing resilience for water security. On the other hand, man-made reservoirs change the water distribution throughout the year. Most climate change impact studies ignore the role of reservoirs in water availability studies. However, water availability cannot be properly assessed without a thorough assessment of reservoir conditions. By combining classical methods for climate variability assessment (top-down approach) and influence assessment (bottom-up approach), this study offers a hybrid framework that integrates different drivers of water storage vulnerability. Final index is termed as the Multivariate Standardized Reliability and Resilience Index (MSRRI). This index investigates the adaptive capacity of the reservoir and exposure of the system to variable conditions. MSRRI has been investigated over several major reservoirs in Australia and California, United States. This presentation reviews recent findings and discusses reservoir conditions in Australia and California using MSRRI under different climatic change scenarios.