Author(s): Mo W, Wang R, Zimmerman JB
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Abstract Increased water demand and scarce freshwater resources have forced communities to seek nontraditional water sources. These challenges are exacerbated in coastal communities, where population growth rates and densities in the United States are the highest. To understand the current management dilemma between constrained surface and groundwater sources and potential new water sources, Tampa Bay, Florida (TB), and San Diego, California (SD), were studied through 2030 accounting for changes in population, water demand, and electricity grid mix. These locations were chosen on the basis of their similar populations, land areas, economies, and water consumption characters as well as their coastal locations and rising contradictions between water demand and supply. Three scenarios were evaluated for each study area: (1) maximization of traditional supplies; (2) maximization of seawater desalination; and (3) maximization of nonpotable water reclamation. Three types of impacts were assessed: embodied energy, greenhouse gas (GHG) emission, and energy cost. SD was found to have higher embodied energy and energy cost but lower GHG emission than TB in most of its water infrastructure systems because of the differences between the electricity grid mixes and water resources of the two regions. Maximizing water reclamation was found to be better than increasing either traditional supplies or seawater desalination in both regions in terms of the three impact categories. The results further imply the importance of assessing the energy-water nexus when pursuing demand-side control targets or goals as well to ensure that the potentially most economical options are considered.
This article was published in Environ Sci Technol
and referenced in Journal of Fundamentals of Renewable Energy and Applications