Common Futures

Understanding Water Resources:
Supply and Demand Assessments


Water resources asssessment aims to quantify both the quantity and quality of surface and groundwater. Common Futures works with a wide variety of computer models, as well as data collection and interpretation techniques, to help clients in evaluating their water resources and planning for future uses.

Some examples include:

  • Envision/Flow as mechanism to evaluate a wide variety of potential future scenarios incorporating both landuse and climate change as well as population growth.
  • The Water Evaluation and Planning model (WEAP) to contribute to the development of Integrated Water Resource Assessment (WEAP)
  • The Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT) to evaluate the spatial and temporal variation of watershed-level water quality conditions
  • CE-QUAL-W2, a detailed 2-dimensional hydrodynamic model to simulate lake and reservoir dynamics.

Studies have looked at influence of climate, anthropogenic loadings, and reservoir management, on water quality.

An Example - Treasure Valley, Idaho Futures

The Challenge

Treasure Valley, the watershed encompassing Boise, Idaho, is experiencing increased pressure on its water resources, and is trying to understand how urban growth, climate, agriculture, and other water uses interact, and how future demands on this increasing scare resource can best be accomodated in an era of changing climate.

The Approach

Common Futures scientists are working with researchers at Boise State University to develop an Envision application that models a variety of sources of supply (e.g. precipitation, snowpack, reuse), demands (e.g. agriculture, urban residential, industrial, ecological services), infrastructure (e.g. dams and reservoirs), and institutions (e.g. water rights, western water law).

The Result

The resulting Envision model will inform a stakeholder-engaged scenario planning process that will lead to increased understanding of the possible impacts of climate change, population growth, and other change drivers on water supply and demand, including assesssment of a variety of alternative water management policies.