Abstract Author: Noel Aloysius, James Saiers and Robert Mendelsohn
Abstract Title: The Role of Climate Change in the Vulnerability and Resilience of Water Resources within the Rio Bravo River Basin
Abstract: The landscapes of the lower Rio Grande river basin have undergone several transformations during the last decades, mostly due to agricultural expansion and urbanization. Intensive irrigated agriculture relies on surface water and groundwater and has depleted the supply of these resources. Besides the changes in land use and land cover, published studies report increased frequency of extreme temperatures, more intense precipitation events, and increased warm season duration with longer dry episodes. These changes threaten the health and resilience of natural and agricultural ecosystems within Rio Grande basin.
In order to explore the effects of climate and other anthropogenic changes on the water resources of the basin and to identify strategies to improve human welfare and ecosystem functioning, we are conducting an assessment of the basin hydrology. The hydrological modeling framework, Soil Water Assessment Tool (SWAT), is being used to simulate the hydrology of the basin. Historical climate change and variability and projected climate change are being analyzed to elucidate the spatiotemporal pattern in the regionís climate. This information will be used with data on the land use and land cover changes in the SWAT model to simulate the hydrology of the basin. The hydrology model will be coupled with an economic model to infer efficient surface water and groundwater allocation scenarios under different climatic conditions.