Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Delaware River Basin Commission Report Finds Peak Water Demands Have Likely Already Occurred In Delaware River Watershed

A new report from the
Delaware River Basin Commission found that data shows peak water withdrawals in the Basin have likely already occurred despite a continued increase in population and water demands are projected to decrease through 2060.

The report-- Water Withdrawal and Consumptive Use Estimates for the Delaware River Basin (1990-2017) with Projections through 2060-- shows more people using less water overall is indicative of the benefits of water efficiency in the Basin.

“DRBC’s planning programs include the evaluation of sustainable water availability in the Delaware River Basin, supporting efforts to ensure water security for over 13 million people in four states,” DRBC Executive Director Steve Tambini said. “This is the first time in DRBC’s history that nearly 30 years of water use data have been used to project future water withdrawals and consumptive water uses for multiple water use sectors.”

Most of the water used in the Basin comes from surface water. Major water use sectors highlighted in this report include public water supply, power generation, industry, mining, irrigation, self-supplied domestic (private water wells) and out-of-basin transfers. 

The report also evaluated and projected consumptive use, or water that is withdrawn from the Basin, but is not returned; examples include out-of-basin water transfers and water lost to evaporation from being used for cooling purposes in power generation.

The data also show that the amount of water consumptively used is projected to remain relatively constant. 

One reason is a change in technology for generating power; newer recirculating technology withdrawals less water overall but results in higher rates of evaporation.

“While peak water demand may be in the past, the complex interstate systems that support water resources throughout the Basin still need proper management and protection,” Tambini continued. “The results of this study will be incorporated into water availability and water resiliency assessments for the Delaware River Basin that will also consider a repeat of extreme drought conditions and changes to flow and sea level rise due to climate change.”

Click Here for a copy of the report.

For more information on programs, initiatives and upcoming events, visit the Delaware River Basin Commission website.  Click Here to sign up for regulator updates.  Follow DRBC on TwitterVisit them on YouTube.

[Posted: October 19, 2021]  PA Environment Digest

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