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Water 2014, 6(9), 2590-2613; doi:10.3390/w6092590

Integrated Water Resource Management and Energy Requirements for Water Supply in the Copiapó River Basin, Chile

1
Departamento de Ingeniería Hidráulica y Ambiental, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, Av. Vicuña Mackenna 4860, Santiago 7820436, Chile
2
Centro de Desarrollo Urbano Sustentable CONICYT/FONDAP/15110020, Av. Vicuña Mackenna 4860, Santiago 7820436, Chile
3
Department of Civil Engineering and Geological Sciences, University of Notre Dame, South Bend, IN 46556, USA
4
Department of Natural Resources Management & Agricultural Engineering, Agricultural University of Athens, Iera Odos 75, Athens 118 55, Greece
5
Centro Interdisciplinario de Cambio Global, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, Av. Vicuña Mackenna 4860, Santiago 7820436, Chile
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 26 May 2014 / Revised: 30 July 2014 / Accepted: 11 August 2014 / Published: 27 August 2014
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Abstract

Population and industry growth in dry climates are fully tied to significant increase in water and energy demands. Because water affects many economic, social and environmental aspects, an interdisciplinary approach is needed to solve current and future water scarcity problems, and to minimize energy requirements in water production. Such a task requires integrated water modeling tools able to couple surface water and groundwater, which allow for managing complex basins where multiple stakeholders and water users face an intense competition for limited freshwater resources. This work develops an integrated water resource management model to investigate the water-energy nexus in reducing water stress in the Copiapó River basin, an arid, highly vulnerable basin in northern Chile. The model was utilized to characterize groundwater and surface water resources, and water demand and uses. Different management scenarios were evaluated to estimate future resource availability, and compared in terms of energy requirements and costs for desalinating seawater to eliminate the corresponding water deficit. Results show a basin facing a very complex future unless measures are adopted. When a 30% uniform reduction of water consumption is achieved, 70 GWh over the next 30 years are required to provide the energy needed to increase the available water through seawater desalination. In arid basins, this energy could be supplied by solar energy, thus addressing water shortage problems through integrated water resource management combined with new technologies of water production driven by renewable energy sources. View Full-Text
Keywords: water-energy nexus; arid region; river basin; groundwater; water supply water-energy nexus; arid region; river basin; groundwater; water supply
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Suárez, F.; Muñoz, J.F.; Fernández, B.; Dorsaz, J.-M.; Hunter, C.K.; Karavitis, C.A.; Gironás, J. Integrated Water Resource Management and Energy Requirements for Water Supply in the Copiapó River Basin, Chile. Water 2014, 6, 2590-2613.

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