Storyline - Water Demand
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Take Home Message

Adoption of policies that address water efficiency make a difference. This is particularly true regarding agricultural water use.

Key Findings

  • Water demand varies widely by sector and by management scenario. Because of it's extensive area in the basin, natural shrubland is estimated to be the largest "consumer" of water in the basin, followed by agriculture.
  • It is also clear from these results that for "agriculture boom" scenarios, management matters; there are quite marked differences between less managed and more managed scenarios. In the less managed scenarios, agricultural water demand is projected to increase by roughly 50%, while under the more managed scenario, agricultural water demand stays roughly constant, despite increasing temperatures and a robust agricultural sector. In the "tourist boom" scenarios, agricultural water use either stays flat (less managed) or decreases (more managed).


Water demand in the basin is reported for each section - Agriculture, Forests, Natural Shrubland, and Municipal Uses. 
  • Agricultural water demand focuses on the water used to support crop production, including irrigation. Agricultural water use is determined based on evapotranspiration of the crops, which is determined based on crop type, weather, soil type, and soil moisture status. A description of the methodology used to estimate crop water demand here
  • Forest and natural shrubland water demand is based on estimates of evapotranspiration, estimated in a similar manner to that of crops.

The Data

Results, expressed as percent of total water demand, are presented in the table to right, for current conditions (ca. 2010) and with ranges under the different scenarios for 2070.
Land Cover TypePercent of Total Demand
Natural Shrub4947-54
Forest25 22-26

The following chart shows estimated water demand by sector for the various scenarios. It is helpful to "filter" the information presented on the chart to get a better understand of the effect of different management scenarios of the distribution of water demand.

Annual Water Demand by Sector 2010-2070

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