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EcoWest missionInform and advance conservation in the AmericanWest by analyzing, visualizing, and sharing dataon environme...
EcoWest decks This is one of six presentations that illustrate key environmental metrics. Libraries for each topic contain...
Executive summary •   The American West is facing a water crisis that is being compounded by     population growth and cli...
Table of contents 1. Water supply                 4. Freshwater habitat   • Total water supply            • Biodiversity  ...
1. WATER SUPPLY                  1/20/2013   5
Water abounds, but freshwater supply is limitedSaline                                                                     ...
Water is especially precious in the arid West             Average annual precipitation (1971 – 2000)                      ...
Western states see relatively few rainy days                    Number of rainy days per year NH HI                       ...
Precipitation has been decreasing in parts of the West             Changes in annual precipitation, 1959 - 2008           ...
Drought has increased in much of the West              Observed drought trends, 1958 - 2007                 Source: U.S. G...
Precipitation is expected to decrease in the near future         Predicted precipitation changes, 2020 - 2039 vs. 1961 - 1...
Later this century, major seasonal changes are expected           Projected precipitation changes: 2080 - 2099            ...
Runoff is expected to fall sharply in the Southwest          Change in Projected Runoff, 2041-2060 vs. 1901-1970          ...
Snowmelt will occur earlier, especially in Northwest                    Source: The Nature Conservancy   1/20/2013   14
Earlier peaks will alter dam operations and ecosystems   Trends in peak streamflow timing, 2080 - 2099 vs. 1951 - 1980    ...
2. WATER DEMAND                  1/20/2013   16
Two measures for national water use  Water Withdrawals by Use                                         Water Consumption by...
Withdrawals are leveling even as population grows                                              500                        ...
Withdrawals dominated by power and irrigation               Water withdrawals in the U.S. (billions of gallons/day)500    ...
Public supply withdrawals are steadily increasing               Water withdrawals in the U.S. (billions of gallons/day) 90...
Irrigation is the top water user in the West                 Water withdrawals in the West, 2005                      Indu...
Western states lead the nation in irrigation             Total withdrawals for irrigation, 2005                       Sour...
Some Western states are also top groundwater users                   Source: U.S. Geological Survey   1/20/2013   23
Nationally, groundwater withdrawals are rising                                                                Surface wate...
Runoff vs. water use: degree of water stress                   Source: The Nature Conservancy   1/20/2013   25
Growth will increase pressure on water supply        Projected population change by county: 2000 - 2050                   ...
Climate change, growth will cause water conflicts            Potential water supply conflicts by 2025              Source:...
3. WATER QUALITY                   1/20/2013   28
Major regions in Wadeable Streams Assessment                Source: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency   1/20/2013   29
Western streams top the water quality rankings                                   Biological condition of streams          ...
Major regions in National Lakes Assessment                Source: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency   1/20/2013   31
Western lakes are in poor condition              Xeric  Western Mountains                                                 ...
Degradation of lakeshore habitat threatening lakes                         45%                         40%                ...
4. FRESHWATER HABITAT                        1/20/2013   34
Freshwater ecoregions in the West                   Source: The Nature Conservancy   1/20/2013   35
The West has some hotspots for freshwater endemics                   Source: The Nature Conservancy   1/20/2013   36
Number of freshwater mammal species                 Source: The Nature Conservancy   1/20/2013   37
Number of freshwater bird species                   Source: The Nature Conservancy   1/20/2013   38
Even dry areas are home to many amphibians                  Source: The Nature Conservancy   1/20/2013   39
Some hotspots for threatened amphibians in the West                   Source: The Nature Conservancy   1/20/2013   40
Fewer fish species are present in the West                   Source: The Nature Conservancy   1/20/2013   41
The Pacific Northwest has many migratory fish                   Source: The Nature Conservancy   1/20/2013   42
Western fish runs suffer significant disruptions                    Source: The Nature Conservancy   1/20/2013   43
Invasive species imperil freshwater habitat                   Source: The Nature Conservancy   1/20/2013   44
5. INFRASTRUCTURE                    1/20/2013   45
Water infrastructure is in especially poor shape                  ASCE infrastructure report card, 2009    Sector         ...
Crumbling water works will cost billions to fix                               Estimated investment need 2010 - 2015       ...
California has the greatest infrastructure need                Necessary investment in water infrastructure over 20 years ...
The Southwest badly needs dam repairs          Number and percent of dams in need of rehabilitation 180                   ...
Price of water continues to climb                   Source: USA Today   1/20/2013   50
6. SOLUTIONS?                1/20/2013   51
As top user, irrigation has most conservation potential                    Water withdrawals in the West, 2005            ...
Conservation strategies for agriculture      Potential savings compared to fallowing and land retirement                  ...
Outdoor use dominates household consumption                                 Average household water use 100%              ...
Reusing greywater can cut residential demand           Average indoor residential water use for 12 North American cities  ...
Efficient toilets and clothes washers offer big savings                        Comparison of average daily water use:     ...
Distributing toilets is most cost effective option                                                                        ...
Water markets are already functioning in West                              Volume of water transfers in the West          ...
Agriculture is the top source for water transfers                            Number of water transfers in the West, 1987 -...
California, Arizona, and Idaho lead in water transfers           Volume of water transferred by state and transfer type   ...
Desalination capacity growing steadily                                         Global cumulative contracted capacity of de...
Many new desal plants proposed in California                    Source: Pacific Institute   1/20/2013   62
Desalination is very energy intensive—and costly                               Energy intensity of water sources          ...
Conclusion • A limited and unpredictable water supply is one of the defining   features of the American West, which faces ...
Download more slides and other libraries                  ecowest.org       Contact us by e-mailing mitch@ceaconsulting.co...
EcoWest advisors            Jon Christensen, Adjunct Assistant Professor and Pritzker            Fellow at the Institute o...
EcoWest advisors            Jonathan Hoekstra, head of WWF’s Conservation Science            Program, lead author of The A...
Contributors at California Environmental Associates        Mitch Tobin        Editor of EcoWest.org        Communications ...
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Water in the American West

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This EcoWest presentation examines water in the American West and the challenges of managing rising demands in a region with limited freshwater supplies. Learn more at EcoWest.org

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Water in the American West

  1. 1. EcoWest missionInform and advance conservation in the AmericanWest by analyzing, visualizing, and sharing dataon environmental trends. 1/20/2013 1
  2. 2. EcoWest decks This is one of six presentations that illustrate key environmental metrics. Libraries for each topic contain additional slides. Issue Sample metrics Water Per capita water consumption, price of water, trends in transfers Biodiversity Number of endangered species, government funding for species protection Wildfires Size and number of wildfires, suppression costs Land Area protected by land trusts, location of proposed wilderness areas Climate Temperature and precipitation projections Politics Conservation funding, public opinion Download presentations and libraries at ecowest.org 1/20/2013 2
  3. 3. Executive summary • The American West is facing a water crisis that is being compounded by population growth and climate change. • In most parts of the West, water is an especially scarce resource. The 11 coterminous Western states average just 18 inches of precipitation per year compared to 37 inches for the United States as a whole. • Scientists believe climate change will make the Southwest even drier and shrink the snowpack in many locations. • Although overall water use has leveled off over the past few decades, total municipal demand is increasing as cities continue to grow. • Laws like the Clean Water Act have reduced pollution and Western streams tend to have better water quality than those in other regions, but lakes are in poorer condition. Nutrient loading and degraded lakeshore habitat pose the greatest threats in the West. • The nation’s water infrastructure is crumbling, with hundreds of billions required to fix dams, levees, sewage plants, and drinking water systems. • Looking ahead, proposed water management strategies include water conservation, water reuse, reforms to state water laws, expanded water markets, and desalination. 1/20/2013 3
  4. 4. Table of contents 1. Water supply 4. Freshwater habitat • Total water supply • Biodiversity • Precipitation and drought • Habitat disruption • Runoff and snowmelt 5. Infrastructure 2. Water demand • National and regional needs • Withdrawals in the US • Withdrawals in the West 6. Solutions? • Water conservation • Water stress and conflict • Water markets 3. Water quality • Desalination • Water quality in streams • Water quality in lakes • Drinking water 1/20/2013 4
  5. 5. 1. WATER SUPPLY 1/20/2013 5
  6. 6. Water abounds, but freshwater supply is limitedSaline Surface water Atmosphericgroundwater and other water 0.22%and saline Freshwater freshwaterlakes, 1% Biological 2.5% 1.3% water 0.22% Rivers 0.46% Swamps and marshes 2.53% Groundwater Lakes Soil moisture 30.1% 20.1% 3.52% Oceans Glaciers 96.5% and ice caps Ice and 68.6% snow 73.1% Global water supply Freshwater Surface water and other freshwater Source: Water in Crisis: A Guide to the World’s Fresh Water Resources 1/20/2013 6
  7. 7. Water is especially precious in the arid West Average annual precipitation (1971 – 2000) 100th Meridian 1/20/2013 7
  8. 8. Western states see relatively few rainy days Number of rainy days per year NH HI Most WV rainy days VT AK OH CO TX NM Fewest rainy CA days NV AZ 0 20 40 60 80 100 120 140 160 180 Source: NOAA 1/20/2013 8
  9. 9. Precipitation has been decreasing in parts of the West Changes in annual precipitation, 1959 - 2008 Source: U.S. Global Change Research Program 1/20/2013 9
  10. 10. Drought has increased in much of the West Observed drought trends, 1958 - 2007 Source: U.S. Global Change Research Program 1/20/2013 10
  11. 11. Precipitation is expected to decrease in the near future Predicted precipitation changes, 2020 - 2039 vs. 1961 - 1990 Source: Tetra Tech, Natural Resources Defense Council 1/20/2013 11
  12. 12. Later this century, major seasonal changes are expected Projected precipitation changes: 2080 - 2099 Source: U.S. Global Change Research Program 1/20/2013 12
  13. 13. Runoff is expected to fall sharply in the Southwest Change in Projected Runoff, 2041-2060 vs. 1901-1970 Source: U.S. Global Change Research Program 1/20/2013 13
  14. 14. Snowmelt will occur earlier, especially in Northwest Source: The Nature Conservancy 1/20/2013 14
  15. 15. Earlier peaks will alter dam operations and ecosystems Trends in peak streamflow timing, 2080 - 2099 vs. 1951 - 1980 Difference in days Source: U.S. Global Change Research Program 1/20/2013 15
  16. 16. 2. WATER DEMAND 1/20/2013 16
  17. 17. Two measures for national water use Water Withdrawals by Use Water Consumption by Use 8% 4% 3% 8% 12% 41% 39% 85% Irrigation Thermoelectric Domestic Industrial Source: U.S. Geological Survey, National Renewable Energy Laboratory 1/20/2013 17
  18. 18. Withdrawals are leveling even as population grows 500 350 450 Total withdrawals, billions of gallons/day 300 400 350 250 U.S. population, millions 300 200 250 150 200 150 100 100 50 50 0 0 1950 1955 1960 1965 1970 1975 1980 1985 1990 1995 2000 2005 Source: U.S. Geological Survey 1/20/2013 18
  19. 19. Withdrawals dominated by power and irrigation Water withdrawals in the U.S. (billions of gallons/day)500 Aquaculture450 Commercial400350 Mining300 Livestock250 Self-supplied domestic200 Self-supplied150 industrial Public supply100 50 Irrigation 0 Thermoelectric 1950 1955 1960 1965 1970 1975 1980 1985 1990 1995 2000 2005 power Source: U.S. Geological Survey 1/20/2013 19
  20. 20. Public supply withdrawals are steadily increasing Water withdrawals in the U.S. (billions of gallons/day) 90 Note: irrigation and thermoelectric power 80 removed Aquaculture 70 Commercial 60 Mining 50 Livestock 40 Self-supplied domestic 30 Self-supplied industrial 20 Public supply 10 0 1950 1955 1960 1965 1970 1975 1980 1985 1990 1995 2000 2005 Source: U.S. Geological Survey 1/20/2013 20
  21. 21. Irrigation is the top water user in the West Water withdrawals in the West, 2005 Industrial Self- Supplied 0.1% Domestic, Self- Supplied 0.8% Public Supply 10.8% Irrigation 76.2% Thermoelectric 11.8% Mining 0.3% Livestock 0.2% Source: U.S. Geological Survey 1/20/2013 21
  22. 22. Western states lead the nation in irrigation Total withdrawals for irrigation, 2005 Source: U.S. Geological Survey 1/20/2013 22
  23. 23. Some Western states are also top groundwater users Source: U.S. Geological Survey 1/20/2013 23
  24. 24. Nationally, groundwater withdrawals are rising Surface water vs. groundwater withdrawals 500 Withdrawals, Billions of Gallons per Day 450 400 350 300 250 200 150 100 50 0 1950 1955 1960 1965 1970 1975 1980 1985 1990 1995 2000 2005 Groundwater Surface water Source: U.S. Geological Survey 1/20/2013 24
  25. 25. Runoff vs. water use: degree of water stress Source: The Nature Conservancy 1/20/2013 25
  26. 26. Growth will increase pressure on water supply Projected population change by county: 2000 - 2050 Source: U.S. Global Change Research Program 1/20/2013 26
  27. 27. Climate change, growth will cause water conflicts Potential water supply conflicts by 2025 Source: Bureau of Reclamation, U.S. Global Change Research Program 1/20/2013 27
  28. 28. 3. WATER QUALITY 1/20/2013 28
  29. 29. Major regions in Wadeable Streams Assessment Source: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency 1/20/2013 29
  30. 30. Western streams top the water quality rankings Biological condition of streams West 45.1% 25.8% 27.4%Plains and Lowlands 29.0% 29.0% 40.0% Eastern Highlands 18.2% 20.5% 51.8% 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90% 100% Good Fair Poor Not Assessed Source: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency 1/20/2013 30
  31. 31. Major regions in National Lakes Assessment Source: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency 1/20/2013 31
  32. 32. Western lakes are in poor condition Xeric Western Mountains Good Fair Poor National 0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100% Percent of Lakes Source: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency 1/20/2013 32
  33. 33. Degradation of lakeshore habitat threatening lakes 45% 40% 35% 30% Percent of U.S. Lakes 25% 20% 15% 10% 5% 0% Lakeshore Physical Shallow Total Total Lakeshore Turbidity Dissolved habitat habitat water nitrogen phosphorus disturbance oxygen complexity habitat Source: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency 1/20/2013 33
  34. 34. 4. FRESHWATER HABITAT 1/20/2013 34
  35. 35. Freshwater ecoregions in the West Source: The Nature Conservancy 1/20/2013 35
  36. 36. The West has some hotspots for freshwater endemics Source: The Nature Conservancy 1/20/2013 36
  37. 37. Number of freshwater mammal species Source: The Nature Conservancy 1/20/2013 37
  38. 38. Number of freshwater bird species Source: The Nature Conservancy 1/20/2013 38
  39. 39. Even dry areas are home to many amphibians Source: The Nature Conservancy 1/20/2013 39
  40. 40. Some hotspots for threatened amphibians in the West Source: The Nature Conservancy 1/20/2013 40
  41. 41. Fewer fish species are present in the West Source: The Nature Conservancy 1/20/2013 41
  42. 42. The Pacific Northwest has many migratory fish Source: The Nature Conservancy 1/20/2013 42
  43. 43. Western fish runs suffer significant disruptions Source: The Nature Conservancy 1/20/2013 43
  44. 44. Invasive species imperil freshwater habitat Source: The Nature Conservancy 1/20/2013 44
  45. 45. 5. INFRASTRUCTURE 1/20/2013 45
  46. 46. Water infrastructure is in especially poor shape ASCE infrastructure report card, 2009 Sector Grade Drinking water D- Wastewater D- Dams D- Levees D- Schools D- Roads D- Aviation D Energy D+ Rail C- Public parks and recreation C- Solid waste C+ Source: American Society of Civil Engineers 1/20/2013 46
  47. 47. Crumbling water works will cost billions to fix Estimated investment need 2010 - 2015 Dams Levees Estimated Actual Spending Inland Waterways Rail American Recovery and Reinvestment Act Energy Hazardous Waste and Solid Waste 5-Year Investment Shortfall Public Parks and Recreation Aviation Schools Drinking Water and Wastewater Transit Roads and Bridges $0 $100 $200 $300 $400 $500 $600 $700 $800 $900 $1,000 Billions Source: American Society of Civil Engineers 1/20/2013 47
  48. 48. California has the greatest infrastructure need Necessary investment in water infrastructure over 20 years $30,000 $25,000 $20,000Millions $15,000 Drinking Water Wastewater $10,000 $5,000 $0 Source: American Society of Civil Engineers 1/20/2013 48
  49. 49. The Southwest badly needs dam repairs Number and percent of dams in need of rehabilitation 180 45% 160 40% 140 35% 120 30% 100 25% 80 20% 60 15% 40 10% 20 5% 0 0% Source: American Society of Civil Engineers 1/20/2013 49
  50. 50. Price of water continues to climb Source: USA Today 1/20/2013 50
  51. 51. 6. SOLUTIONS? 1/20/2013 51
  52. 52. As top user, irrigation has most conservation potential Water withdrawals in the West, 2005 Industrial Self- Supplied 0.1% Domestic, Self- Supplied 0.8% Public Supply 10.8% Irrigation 76.2% Thermoelectric 11.8% Mining 0.3% Livestock 0.2% Source: U.S. Geological Survey 1/20/2013 52
  53. 53. Conservation strategies for agriculture Potential savings compared to fallowing and land retirement Source: Pacific Institute 1/20/2013 53
  54. 54. Outdoor use dominates household consumption Average household water use 100% Other Baths Dishwashers Leaks Unknown 90% Faucets 80% Showers Clothes Washers 70% Toilets 60% 50% 40% 30% Outdoor 20% 10% 0% Gallons per capita Source: American Water Works Association 1/20/2013 54
  55. 55. Reusing greywater can cut residential demand Average indoor residential water use for 12 North American cities Faucets 16% Leaks 14% Greywater: from Clothes Washer bath, shower, and 21% clothes washer. About 40%, or 28 gallons per capita Blackwater: per day. Toilets dishwasher, toilets, Shower 27% etc. account for 17% 28%, or 19.5 gallons per capita per day. Bath 2% Other Domestic 2% Dishwashers 1% Source: American Water Works Association 1/20/2013 55
  56. 56. Efficient toilets and clothes washers offer big savings Comparison of average daily water use: with and without conservation measures Dishwashers Baths With conservation Without conservation Other Domestic Uses Leaks Faucets Showers Clothes Washers Toilets 0 5 10 15 20 Gallons per capita per day Source: Handbook of Water Use and Conservation 1/20/2013 56
  57. 57. Distributing toilets is most cost effective option Ordinances Surcharges Classes Source: Water Conservation Alliance of Southern Arizona 1/20/2013 57
  58. 58. Water markets are already functioning in West Volume of water transfers in the West 3.0 2.5 2.0Millions of acre-feet 1.5 Sales 1.0 Long-Term Leases 0.5 Short-Term Leases 0.0 Source: Brewer et al. (2007) 1/20/2013 58
  59. 59. Agriculture is the top source for water transfers Number of water transfers in the West, 1987 - 2005 Environmental to Agricultural Environmental to Urban Environmental to EnvironmentalUrban to Agricultural Urban to Environmental Combination Agricultural to Environmental Urban to Urban Agricultural to AgriculturalAgricultural to Urban 0 500 1,000 1,500 2,000 Number of Transfers Source: Brewer et al. (2007) 1/20/2013 59
  60. 60. California, Arizona, and Idaho lead in water transfers Volume of water transferred by state and transfer type … … NV … Ag to Urban UT Ag to Envir … Ag to Ag Urban to Urban … Urban to Ag CO Urban to Envir TX Combination ID AZ CA 0 2 4 6 8 10 12 Millions of acre-feet Source: Brewer et al. (2007) 1/20/2013 60
  61. 61. Desalination capacity growing steadily Global cumulative contracted capacity of desalination plants 70 60 Millions of cubic meters per day 50 40 30 20 10 0 Source: Pacific Institute 1/20/2013 61
  62. 62. Many new desal plants proposed in California Source: Pacific Institute 1/20/2013 62
  63. 63. Desalination is very energy intensive—and costly Energy intensity of water sources in San Diego County Seawater desalination San Francisco Bay Delta Imperial Irrigation District Colorado River Water bags Local groundwater Recycling Local surface water 0 1000 2000 3000 4000 5000 Energy intensity, kWh/af Source: Pacific Institute 1/20/2013 63
  64. 64. Conclusion • A limited and unpredictable water supply is one of the defining features of the American West, which faces a water crisis that is being compounded by growth and climate change. • Climate change is expected to make the Southwest even drier and shrink the snowpack in many locations, causing problems for water managers and freshwater ecosystems. • Overall, we’re becoming more efficient in our water use, but total demand continues to rise along with the region’s growing population and energy use. • Although water quality has generally improved, our water infrastructure is crumbling in the West and across the nation. • Looking ahead, water conservation, water reuse, expanded water markets, and desalination are likely to play a role in addressing the challenge of water in the West. 1/20/2013 64
  65. 65. Download more slides and other libraries ecowest.org Contact us by e-mailing mitch@ceaconsulting.com 1/20/2013 65
  66. 66. EcoWest advisors Jon Christensen, Adjunct Assistant Professor and Pritzker Fellow at the Institute of the Environment and Sustainability and Department of History at UCLA; former director of Bill Lane Center for the American West at Stanford. Bruce Hamilton, Deputy Executive Director for the Sierra Club, where he has worked for more than 35 years; member of the World Commission on Protected Areas; former Field Editor for High Country News. Robert Glennon, Regents’ Professor and Morris K. Udall Professor of Law and Public Policy, Rogers College of Law at the University of Arizona; author of Water Follies and Unquenchable. 1/20/2013 66
  67. 67. EcoWest advisors Jonathan Hoekstra, head of WWF’s Conservation Science Program, lead author of The Atlas of Global Conservation, and former Senior Scientist at The Nature Conservancy. Timothy Male, Vice President of Conservation Policy for Defenders of Wildlife, where he directs the Habitat and Highways, Conservation Planning, Federal Lands, Oregon Biodiversity Partnership, and Economics programs. Thomas Swetnam, Regents Professor of Dendrochronology, Director of the Laboratory of Tree-Ring Research at the University of Arizona, and a leading expert on wildfires and Western forests. 1/20/2013 67
  68. 68. Contributors at California Environmental Associates Mitch Tobin Editor of EcoWest.org Communications Director at CEA Micah Day Associate at CEA Matthew Elliott Contact us by e-mailing Principal at CEA mitch@ceaconsulting.com Max Levine Associate at CEA Caroline Ott Research Associate at CEA Sarah Weldon Affiliated consultant at CEA 1/20/2013 68

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