Vulnerability of U.S. Agriculture and Energy Sectors to Changes in Climate and Socioeconomics
The coupled modeling framework has been used to investigate: 1) Which water use sector (agriculture or energy) and subbasins in the conterminous U.S. will experience water deficits in future decades; 2) What are the drivers for the deficit (i.e., water availability, water demands, or both); 3) Will climate mitigation policies alleviate or exacerbate the situation; and lastly 4) How will the frequency , severity, and spatial extent of water deficits (hot spots) evolve under a non-mitigation scenario (RCP8.5) in which conventional fossil-fueled technologies prevail versus a mitigation scenario (RCP4.5) in which the carbon price causes a shift toward renewables and expansion of bioenergy productions. Results show that irrigation will face greater water deficit overall except in the northeastern U.S. Water deficit is greatest in the western U.S. except the Pacific Northwest. Human footprints on the regulated flows are most pronounced over the Rio Grande, Colorado, Great Lake, Great, and Missouri basins. Overall, total water deficit in term of both total volume and land area are projected to increase in the future under both RCPs.