C. David Moeser
Water is one of the most abundant natural resources on earth. However, just 0.3% of the total freshwater (or <0.007% of total water) is seen on the surface as rivers and lakes. While this number is surprisingly small, it is exacerbated in regions with dryer than normal conditions. This scarcity is undeniable for those of us who live in the stark desert environments of our world. Normally commodities which are environmentally scarce are revered in our society; but it seems that only when our wells run dry can we truly see the impact of this invaluable resource.
From 1900 to 1995 world demand for water multiplied by six while our population grew by a factor of two. The growing scarcity of water in some regions is of primary importance and in some ways can impact all societies regardless of the local rainfall rate. Rising water demand paired with increasingly variable precipitation distribution patterns necessitates proactive management practices. A “business as usual” mindset can no longer be held for production supply chains which utilize water. Due to this, water supply forecasts are increasingly being incorporated into management decisions. This rising need for accurate water supply forecasts creates a conundrum as climate changes impact not only the physical environment but also reduce forecast resolution of some established modeling methods.
This is an exciting time to be a hydrologist and hydrologic modeler. Meteorological sensing equipment is becoming smaller, more portable and more powerful allowing for accurate measurements in previously inaccessible sites with a greater distribution. Study sites are quickly becoming automated allowing for a greater flow and agglomeration of available data. This new equipment and data have allowed for novel hydrologic models to be created which capture water movement at much finer scales.
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