Reservoir Evaporation in the Western United States: Current Science, Challenges, and Future Needs

Friedrich, Katja ; Grossman, Robert L. ; Huntington, Justin ; Blanken, Peter D. ; Lenters, John ; Holman, Kathleen D. ; Gochis, David ; Livneh, Ben ; Prairie, James ; Skeie, Erik ; Healey, Nathan C. ; Dahm, Katharine ; Pearson, Christopher ; Finnessey, Taryn ; Hook, Simon J. ; Kowalski, Ted

Année de publication
2018
Résumé
One way to adapt to and mitigate current and future water scarcity is to manage and store water more efficiently. Reservoirs act as critical buffers to ensure agricultural and municipal water deliveries, mitigate flooding, and generate hydroelectric power, yet they often lose significant amounts of water through evaporation, especially in arid and semiarid regions. Despite this fact, reservoir evaporation has been an inconsistently and inaccurately estimated component of the water cycle within the water resource infrastructure of the arid and semiarid western United States. This paper highlights the increasing importance and challenges of correctly estimating and forecasting reservoir evaporation in the current and future climate, as well as the need to bring new ideas and state-of-the-art practices for the estimation of reservoir evaporation into operational use for modern water resource managers. New ideas and practices include i) improving the estimation of reservoir evaporation using up-to-date knowledge, state-of-the-art instrumentation and numerical models, and innovative experimental designs to diagnose processes and accurately forecast evaporation; ii) improving our understanding of spatial and temporal variations in evaporative water loss from existing reservoirs and transferring this knowledge when expanding reservoirs or siting new ones; and iii) implementing an adaptive management plan that incorporates new knowledge, observations, and forecasts of reservoir evaporation to improve water resource management.

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