Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-2024-61
https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-2024-61
08 Mar 2024
 | 08 Mar 2024
Status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal HESS.

Actionable human-water systems modeling under uncertainty

Laura Gil-García, Nazaret M. Montilla-López, Carlos Gutiérrez-Martín, Ángel Sánchez-Daniel, Pablo Saiz-Santiago, Josué M. Polanco-Martínez, Julio Pindado, and C. Dionisio Pérez-Blanco

Abstract. This paper develops an actionable interdisciplinary model that thoroughly quantifies and assesses uncertainties in water resources allocation under climate change. To achieve this objective, we develop an innovative socio-ecological grand ensemble that combines climate, hydrological, and microeconomic ensemble experiments with a widely used Decision Support System for water resources planning and management. Each system is populated with multiple models (multi-model), which we use to evaluate the impacts of multiple climatic scenarios and policies (multi-scenario, multi-forcing) across systems, so as to identify plausible futures where water management policies meet or miss their objectives, and explore potential tipping points. The application of methods is exemplified through a study conducted in the Douro River Basin (DRB), an agricultural basin located in central Spain. Our results show how marginal climate changes can trigger nonlinear water allocation changes in the Decision Support Systems (DSS); which can be further aggravated by the nonlinear adaptive responses of irrigators to water shortages. For example, while some irrigators barely experience economic losses (average profit and employment fall by <0.5 %) under mild water allocation reductions of 5 % or lower, profit and employment fall up to 12 % (~24x more) where water allocation is reduced by 10 % or less (~2x more). This substantiates the relevance of informing on the potential natural and socioeconomic impacts of adaptation strategies, and related uncertainties, towards identifying robust decisions.

Publisher's note: Copernicus Publications remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims made in the text, published maps, institutional affiliations, or any other geographical representation in this preprint. The responsibility to include appropriate place names lies with the authors.
Laura Gil-García, Nazaret M. Montilla-López, Carlos Gutiérrez-Martín, Ángel Sánchez-Daniel, Pablo Saiz-Santiago, Josué M. Polanco-Martínez, Julio Pindado, and C. Dionisio Pérez-Blanco

Status: final response (author comments only)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on hess-2024-61', Anonymous Referee #1, 16 Mar 2024
    • AC1: 'Reply on RC1', Laura Gil García, 02 May 2024
  • RC2: 'Comment on hess-2024-61', Anonymous Referee #2, 25 Apr 2024
    • AC2: 'Reply on RC2', Laura Gil García, 02 May 2024
Laura Gil-García, Nazaret M. Montilla-López, Carlos Gutiérrez-Martín, Ángel Sánchez-Daniel, Pablo Saiz-Santiago, Josué M. Polanco-Martínez, Julio Pindado, and C. Dionisio Pérez-Blanco
Laura Gil-García, Nazaret M. Montilla-López, Carlos Gutiérrez-Martín, Ángel Sánchez-Daniel, Pablo Saiz-Santiago, Josué M. Polanco-Martínez, Julio Pindado, and C. Dionisio Pérez-Blanco

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Short summary
This paper presents an interdisciplinary model for quantifying uncertainties in water allocation under climate change. It combines climate, hydrological, and microeconomic experiments with a decision support system. Multi-model analyses reveal potential futures for water management policies, emphasizing nonlinear climate responses. As illustrated in the Douro River Basin, minor water allocation changes have significant economic impacts, stresssing the need for adaptation strategies.