Francisco Flores

Senior Scientist


Davis, CA
francisco.flores@sei-us.org
skype: fco-flores
+1 (530) 753-3035, x5#

Francisco Flores is a Senior Scientist and a water resources engineer in the Water Group, based in Davis, Calif. His work combines hydrology, agricultural engineering, and water resources engineering for the development of new methods and tools to better understand and manage our water resources in a changing world, in the United States and internationally. He has more than 10 years of professional experience in project management as well as in executing projects.

He applies his technical, analytical and quantitative skills to modeling projects using SEI's WEAP (Water Evaluation and Planning) system to address critical challenges related to water, energy, food security, and the environment for sustainable development. He conducts integrated analysis that supports decision-makers at various levels within organizations.

His primary field of expertise is in the implementation of the plant growth modeling (PGM) tool of SEI's WEAP platform. Through the development of PGM, he focuses on the potential effects of climate change on the landscape – specifically, the impact of altered weather variables and increasing atmospheric CO2 concentrations on biomass production, crop yields and irrigation/water demands in cultivated and non-cultivated landscapes.

Francisco has worked extensively on water resources systems in California, Latin America, Africa, and in the Middle East, and is interested in developing additional collaborations in the United States, Latin America and the Caribbean. He has worked for the Mexico Country Program of the International Water Management Institute on various projects of applied water resources engineering.

He has a Ph.D. in soil and water engineering from Cornell University, an M.S. in water resources engineering from the Colegio de Postgraduados, in Mexico, and a B.S. in agricultural engineering, with specialization in irrigation, from the Universidad Autónoma Chapingo, in Mexico. His doctoral research included analysis of groundwater and stream flow pollutant transport using hydrological models. He is fully bilingual (English / Spanish).


Recent Publications by Francisco Flores

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Water-energy nexus challenges & opportunities in the Arabian Peninsula under climate change

Poster presented at the American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting, San Francisco, 12-16 December 2016

Author(s): Flores, F. ; Yates, D. ; Galaitsi, S. ; Binnington, T. ; Dougherty, B. ; Vinnaccia, M.; Glavan, J.C.
Year: 2016

Research Area(s): Water Resources

Description:

This conference poster presents the results of a study of the water-energy nexus in countries in the Arabian Peninsula, using a coupled WEAP-LEAP model. Demand for water in the Gulf Cooperation Council countries relies mainly on fossil groundwater resources and desalination. Satisfying water demand requires a great deal of energy, as it requires treating and moving water along the supply chain from sources, through treatment processes, and ultimately to the consumer. As part of the Abu Dhabi Global Environmental Data Initiative (AGEDI) Local, National, and Regional Climate Change Programme, a study of the water-energy nexus of the countries in the Arabian Peninsula was implemented. For water, WEAP models both water demand – and its main drivers – and water supply, simulating policies, priorities and preferences. For energy, LEAP models both energy supply and demand, and is able to capture the impacts of low-carbon development strategies. A coupled WEAP-LEAP model was then used to evaluate the future performance of the energy-water system under climate change and policy scenarios. The models examined five policy scenarios of different futures of resource management to the year 2060.


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Modeling of Andean páramo ecosystems' hydrological response to environmental change

Water, 8(3), 94

Author(s): Flores, F. ; Galaitsi, S. ; Escobar, M. ; Purkey, D.
Year: 2016

Research Area(s): Water Resources

Description: This paper describes the modelling of the Quiroz-Chipillico watershed in the Piura region of Peru to simulate the impacts of possible changes within the hydrological system and thus inform decision-making about development for the region. In the Peruvian Andes, water infiltration from tropical wetlands, called páramo, generates headwaters for downstream rivers. The hydrological processes of these wetlands are not well understood within the larger hydrological system, impeding efforts to mitigate the rapid environmental changes anticipated due to regional population growth and climate change. This study constructed and calibrated a Water Evaluation and Planning (WEAP) system model for ecosystems with sparse data in the Quiroz-Chipillico watershed in the Piura region of Peru. The model simulates the impacts of possible changes within the hydrological system to assist decision-makers in strategizing about sustainable development for the region, especially the páramo.
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Tackling biomass scarcity – from vicious to virtuous cycles in sub-Saharan Africa

Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability, 15, 1-8

Author(s): Karlberg, L. ; Flores, F. ; Hoff, H.; Goetz, A.; Matuschke, I.
Year: 2015

Research Area(s): Water Resources

Description: Current adaptation strategies to biomass scarcity in sub-Saharan Africa tend to lock communities into vicious cycles of over-exploitation of biomass from forests and croplands, concurrent degradation and consequently even less biomass availability. One option to unlock these vicious cycles is demand side management, for example, substituting traditional biomass fuels with modern ones. At the same time, the supply of biomass and land productivity can be substantially increased, for instance by returning biomass to the soils. To ensure sustainable agricultural transformation and energy transition, there is a need for a greater focus on biomass scarcity, and specifically on the role of soils. National development strategies need to pay attention to the multiple uses of biomass and enable cross-sector collaboration, including more equal access to land and productive resources.
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Tackling complexity: Understanding the food-energy-environment nexus in Ethiopia's Lake Tana Sub-basin

Water Alternatives 2015, 8(1), 710-734

Author(s): Karlberg, L. ; Binnington, T. ; Flores, F. ; Young, C. ; Hoff, H.; Amsalu, T.; Andersson, K.; de Bruin, A.; Gebrehiwot, S.G.; Gedif, B.; zur Heide, .; Johnson, O.; Osbeck, M.
Year: 2015

Research Area(s): Water Resources ; Energy Modeling

Description: This article describes a nexus toolkit, including WEAP and LEAP, to evaluate different development trajectories for Ethiopia. Ethiopia is growing rapidly and is to become a middle-income country by 2025. To achieve this, the country is implementing an industrialization strategy led by agricultural development. It aims to intensify and transform agriculture, boost yields and economic returns. At the same time, energy use is shifting from traditional biomass to large-scale hydroelectric power generation with the intention of improving access to modern energy sources. While the targets are commendable, it is not clear that either all direct impacts or potential conflicts between goals have been considered. This paper evaluates and compares the impacts of alternative development trajectories pertaining to agriculture, energy and environment for a case-study location, the Lake Tana Subbasin.
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Applying the nexus – meeting Ethiopia's development goals by addressing links between water, energy and food

SEI policy brief

Author(s): Karlberg, L. ; Binnington, T. ; Flores, F. ; Young, C. ; Hoff, H.; Amsalu, T.; Andersson, K.; de Bruin, A.; Gebrehiwot, S.G.; Gedif, B.; zur Heide, F.; Johnson, O.; Osbeck M.
Year: 2015

Research Area(s): Water Resources ; Energy Modeling

Description: This policy brief reports on one of the first times that a nexus approach has been applied on the ground. SEI used its nexus toolkit – the WEAP and LEAP tools for water and energy planning – to assess the ambitious development plans of the Ethiopian Government in terms of their impact on food, energy and the environment. SEI worked with local planners, scientists and NGO staff from the agriculture, energy, water and environment sectors to develop three scenarios: business as usual, following the government's national growth plans, and a nexus approach. The work revealed that, by not taking sufficient account of the links between sectors and resources, the government's plans may not be sustainable or achievable without a toll on human well-being and ecosystems.
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