Water quality management could halve future water scarcity cost-effectively in the Pearl River Basin

Baccour, S., Goelema, G., Kahil, T. ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-7812-5271, Albiac Murillo, J.M.S., van Vliet, M.T.H., Zhu, X., & Strokal, M. (2024). Water quality management could halve future water scarcity cost-effectively in the Pearl River Basin. Nature Communications 15 (1) 10.1038/s41467-024-49929-z.

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Reducing water scarcity requires both mitigation of the increasing water pollution and adaptation to the changing availability and demand of water resources under global change. However, state-of-the-art water scarcity modeling efforts often ignore water quality and associated biogeochemical processes in the design of water scarcity reduction measures. Here, we identify cost-effective options for reducing future water scarcity by accounting for water quantity and quality in the highly water stressed and polluted Pearl River Basin in China under various socio-economic and climatic change scenarios based on the Shared Socio-economic Pathways (SSPs) and Representative Concentration Pathways (RCPs). Our modeling approach integrates a nutrient model (MARINA-Nutrients) with a cost-optimization procedure, considering biogeochemistry and human activities on land in a spatially explicit way. Results indicate that future water scarcity is expected to increase by a factor of four in most parts of the Pearl River Basin by 2050 under the RCP8.5-SSP5 scenario. Results also show that water quality management options could half future water scarcity in a cost-effective way. Our analysis could serve as an example of water scarcity assessment for other highly water stressed and polluted river basins around the world and inform the design of cost-effective measures to reduce water scarcity.

Item Type: Article
Research Programs: Biodiversity and Natural Resources (BNR)
Biodiversity and Natural Resources (BNR) > Water Security (WAT)
Depositing User: Luke Kirwan
Date Deposited: 08 Jul 2024 07:36
Last Modified: 08 Jul 2024 07:36
URI: https://pure.iiasa.ac.at/19859

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