Water Resources

Water Resources at SEI-US

Latest Projects

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Modeling the role of páramo in mountain hydrology under climate change

Staff: Escobar, M. ; Fencl, A. ; Flores, F. ; Purkey, D. ; Davis, M.
Date: 2012-ongoing

Research Area(s): Water Resources

Description: This project applies a WEAP model to the Piura páramo in Peru as a pilot for modelling páramos in other Andean countries, aiming to enhance understanding of páramos' ecological functions in the context of mountain hydrology. Despite páramo (moorland) ecosystems' importance as water sources, their hydrology has not been adequately studied. The meteorological and hydrological data for páramo areas are almost nonexistent, and scientific literature is scarce.
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Urban Metabolic Mapping: Securing the Biophysical Foundation of Indian Cities

Staff: Mehta, V. ; Kemp-Benedict, E. ; Briggs, J.; Wang, D.
Date: 2011-ongoing
Client/Funder: SEI IPS funds

Research Area(s): Water Resources ; Sustainable Futures

Description: The objective of this project is to develop a systems perspective of energy, water and material flows in Indian cities, and to provide information and deliberative modeling to the public via a geospatial web-based service. In collaboration with Indian Institute of Management and the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, the researchers seek to understand and communicate the socio-economic drivers of consumption in Indian cities.
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Economic Assessment of Climate Change Linking WEAP to an Agricultural Production Model

Staff: Purkey, D. ; Forni, L. ; Joyce, B. ; Sieber, J.
Date: 2011-ongoing

Research Area(s): Water Resources

Description: SEI is collaborating with the University of California–Davis to link an agricultural production model based on water valuation for irrigation water, SWAP (State Wide Agricultural Production Model), with SEI's WEAP (Water Evaluation and Planning System). The model is used for an economic assessment of climate change for the entire Central Valley in California under three land changes scenarios of agricultural land based on population growth projections. The outcome of this work is a series of climate change and population projections to 2100.
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Statewide Integrated Water and Energy Planning in California

Staff: Purkey, D. ; Joyce, B. ; Sieber, J. ; Heaps, C. ; National Center for Atmospheric Research; Pacific Gas and Electric Company; Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
Date: 2010-ongoing
Client/Funder: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA); California Energy Commission (CEC)

Research Area(s): Water Resources ; Energy Modeling

Description: This project involves linking SEI's Water Evaluation and Planning (WEAP) and Long-range Energy Alternatives Planning (LEAP) systems to create an integrated platform to explore water and energy interactions and feedbacks. It builds on work done in a 2010 case study of the American River Watershed in California. It is estimated that nearly 20% of California's energy consumption is associated with moving, lifting, treating, and using water. For this project, SEI has partnered with the state Department of Water Resources, which is responsible for guiding California's water future; the California Energy Commission, the coordinating agency to address climate change and reduce greenhouse emissions; and the Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E), which provides natural gas and electric service to millions in northern and central California. We will link water management options, such as reuse, reservoir re-operation, demand-side management, land use changes, etc., as represented in the WEAP portion of the tool, to models of the electric utility serving the water utilities, as represented in LEAP. In addition to a new decision support tool, the results of this case study will be used to develop a final report on the Northern California's water future and its implications for energy demands.

Developing Climate Risk Management Strategies for Water Utilities

Staff: Purkey, D. ; Fencl, A. ; RAND Corporation; Hazen and Sawyer
Date: 2010-ongoing
Client/Funder: Water Research Foundation

Research Area(s): Water Resources

Description: Climate change adds a layer of complexity to the already substantial challenges facing water utility managers. As future conditions become increasingly uncertain, decision processes responding to these changes are necessarily evolving away from a deterministic prediction-based paradigm to one based on vulnerability identification and adaptation planning. SEI is developing a risk assessment and management framework for water utilities to help them learn about potential climate impacts and how these affect decision-making and planning. The framework will be piloted for the New York City water supply system and with the Colorado Springs Utilities in 2011.

Improving Water Productivity and Reducing Water-Related Conflict in the Andes

Staff: Purkey, D. ; Escobar, M. ; Universidad Nacional de Colombia Sede Palmira; World Wildlife Fund-Colombia; King's College-London
Date: 2010-ongoing
Client/Funder: Climate Program on Water and Food (CPWF), Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR)

Research Area(s): Water Resources

Description: SEI implemented a dynamic link between WEAP (developed by SEI) and the FIESTA (AguaAndes) model to provide information on water availability, demands, and management systems. The project is implemented in five watersheds in collaboration with local stakeholders actively participating in water resources negotiations.
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Simulating the Effects of Climate Change on California Central Valley Project Water

Staff: Young, C. ; Flores, F. ; National Center for Atmospheric Research; CH2M Hill
Date: 2009-ongoing
Client/Funder: U.S. Bureau of Reclamation

Research Area(s): Water Resources

Description: The effects of climate change on California's agricultural crop water demand in the coming century are not yet well understood. In this project we use a simulation model to study the various effects of climate change on crop water demand. The physical processes simulated include the reduction in vapor loss due to stomatal closure, the effects of CO2 fertilization on canopy development, changes in growing season timing and length, and the effects of increased temperature on crop water demand.