A Water Resources Management Model to Evaluate Climate Change Impacts in North-Patagonia, Argentina

Monday, 15 December 2014
Lisandro Fabricio Bucciarelli1, Fernando Tomas Losano1, Marta Marizza1,2, Pablo Cello2, Laura Forni3, Charles A Young3, Leonidas Osvaldo Girardin4, Gustavo Nadal4, Francisco Lallana4, Silvana Godoy1 and Ricardo Vallejos1, (1)National University of Comahue, Neuquén, Argentina, (2)National University of Litoral, Santa Fe, Argentina, (3)Stockholm Environment Institute, Davis, CA, United States, (4)Fundación Bariloche, San Carlos de Bariloche, Argentina
Most recently developed climate scenarios indicate a potential future increase in water stress in the region of Comahue, located in the North-Patagonia, Argentina. This region covers about 140,000 km2 where the Limay River and the Neuquén River converge into the Negro River, constituting the largest integrated basins in Argentina providing various uses of water resources: a) hydropower generation, contributing 15% of the national electricity market; b) fruit-horticultural products for local markets and export; c) human and industrial water supply; d) mining and oil exploitation, including Vaca Muerta, second world largest reserves of shale gas and fourth world largest reserves of shale-oil. The span of multiple jurisdictions and the convergence of various uses of water resources are a challenge for integrated understanding of economically and politically driven resource use activities on the natural system. The impacts of climate change on the system could lead to water resource conflicts between the different political actors and stakeholders. This paper presents the results of a hydrological simulation of the Limay river and Neuquén river basins using WEAP (Water Evaluation and Planning) considering the operation of artificial reservoirs located downstream at a monthly time step. This study aims to support policy makers via integrated tools for water-energy planning under climate uncertainties, and to facilitate the formulation of water policy–related actions for future water stress adaptation. The value of the integrated resource use model is that it can support local policy makers understand the implications of resource use trade-offs under a changing climate: 1) water availability to meet future growing demand for irrigated areas; 2) water supply for hydropower production; 3) increasing demand of water for mining and extraction of unconventional oil; 4) potential resource use conflicts and impacts on vulnerable populations.