Analysis of Long-Term Climate Change on Per Capita Water Demand in Urban Versus Suburban Areas in the Portland Metropolitan Area, USA

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Journal of Hydrology

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We investigated the impacts of long-term climate variability and change on per capita water demand in urban and suburban service areas that have different degrees of development density in the Portland metropolitan area, USA. Together with historical daily weather and water production data, socioeconomic data such as population and unemployment rate were used to estimate daily per capita water demand in the two service areas. The structural time series regression model results show that the sensitivity of per capita water demand to both weather and unemployment rate variables is higher in suburban areas than in urban areas. This is associated with relatively higher proportional demand by the residential sector in the suburban area. The estimated coefficients of the historical demand model were used to project the mid-21st century (2035–2064) per capita water demand under three climate change scenarios that represent high (HadGEM2-ES), medium (MIROC5), and low (GFDL) climate changes. Without climate adaptation, compared to the historical period between 1983 and 2012, per capita water demand is projected to increase by 10.6% in the 2035–2064 period under the HadGEM2-ES in suburban areas, while per capita demand is projected to increase by 4.8% under the same scenario in urban areas. Our findings have implications for future urban water resource management and land use planning in the context of climate variability and change. A tight integration between water resource management and urban planning is needed for preparing for climate adaptation in municipal water planning and management.



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