Academic journal article The Science Teacher

Water Management Tool

Academic journal article The Science Teacher

Water Management Tool

Article excerpt

Continued improvement of climate forecasts is resulting in better information about what rainfall and streamflow may look like months in advance. A researcher from North Carolina State University (NC State) has developed an innovative water management framework that would take advantage of these forecasts to plan for droughts or excess rain to make the most efficient use of an area's water resources.

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By using climate forecasts for short-term planning, water managers can better plan for potential shortages due to drought, says Sankar Arumugam, an assistant professor of civil, construction, and environmental engineering at NC State and lead author of the paper. For example, managers could encourage stakeholders to put water-use restrictions in place and launch a water conservation campaign before the drought even arrives. Managers could also use this approach to determine how best to take advantage of surplus water supplies. Arumugam notes that the use of forecasts for planning would also make water managers better able to account for increased water demands due to population growth.

"Our paper proposes a framework that would use forecast data to improve water management, allowing water managers to be proactive with their planning rather than reacting to events after the fact," Arumugam says. Water managers at the federal, state, and local level determine how much water can be allotted to various uses, such as hydropower, agriculture, municipal use, recreation, and the protection of aquatic species. …

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