River floods are one of the most devastating extreme hydrological events, with oftentimes remarkably negative effects for human society and the environment. Economic losses and social consequences, in terms of affected people and human fatalities, are increasing worldwide due to climate change and urbanization processes. Long-term dynamics of flood risk are intimately driven by the temporal evolution of hazard, exposure and vulnerability. Although needed for effective flood risk management, a comprehensive long-term analysis of all these components is not straightforward, mostly due to a lack of hydrological data, exposure information, and large computational resources required for 2-D flood model simulations at adequately high resolution over large spatial scales. This study tries to overcome these limitations and attempts to investigate the dynamics of different flood risk components in the Murray-Darling basin (MDB, Australia) in the period 1973–2014. To this aim, the LISFLOOD-FP model, i.e., a large-scale 2-D hydrodynamic model, and satellite-derived built-up data are employed. Results show that the maximum extension of flooded areas decreases in time, without revealing any significant geographical transfer of inundated areas across the study period. Despite this, a remarkable increment of built-up areas characterizes MDB, with larger annual increments across not-flooded locations compared to flooded areas. When combining flood hazard and exposure, we find that the overall extension of areas exposed to high flood risk more than doubled within the study period, thus highlighting the need for improving flood risk awareness and flood mitigation strategies in the near future.
A fundamental understanding of mineral precipitation kinetics relies largely on microscopic observations of the dynamics of mineral surfaces exposed to supersaturated solutions. Deconvolution of tightly bound transport, surface reaction, and crystal nucleation phenomena still remains one of the main challenges. Particularly, the influence of these processes on texture and morphology of mineral precipitate remains unclear. This study presents a coupling of pore-scale reactive transport modeling with the Arbitrary Lagrangian-Eulerian approach for tracking evolution of explicit solid interface during mineral precipitation. It incorporates a heterogeneous nucleation mechanism according to Classical Nucleation Theory which can be turned “on” or “off.” This approach allows us to demonstrate the role of nucleation on precipitate texture with a focus at micrometer scale. In this work precipitate formation is modeled on a 10 micrometer radius particle in reactive flow. The evolution of explicit interface accounts for the surface curvature which is crucial at this scale in the regime of emerging instabilities. The results illustrate how the surface reaction and reactive fluid flow affect the shape of precipitate on a solid particle. It is shown that nucleation promotes the formation of irregularly shaped precipitate and diminishes the effect of the flow on the asymmetry of precipitation around the particle. The observed differences in precipitate structure are expected to be an important benchmark for reaction-driven precipitation in natural environments.
The Water-Food-Energy Nexus can support a general model of sustainable development, balancing resources with increasing economic/productive expectations, as e.g., in agriculture. We synthesise lessons from Greece's practical and research experience, identify knowledge and application gaps, and propose a novel conceptual framework to tackle these challenges. Thessaly (Central Greece), the country's driest region and largest agricultural supplier is used as an example. The area faces a number of water quantity and quality issues, ambitious production-economic objectives, continuous (historically) drought and flood events, conflicts, administrative and economic issues, under serious climate change impacts. A detailed assessment of the current situation is carried out, covering all these aspects, for the first time in an integrated way. Collaboration gaps among different stakeholders are identified as the biggest impediment to socially acceptable actions. For the first time, to our knowledge, the Nexus is set as a keystone to develop a novel framework to reverse the situation and achieve sustainable management under socially acceptable long-term visions. The proposed framework is based on Systems' Theory, innovation, uses a multi-disciplinary platform to bring together all relevant stakeholders, provides scientific support and commitment, and makes use of technological advances for the system's improvement.
With interest in advancing inclusive urban landscapes and guided by principles of social and cultural sustainability, this essay speculates as to localized water infrastructures as “ablutionary urbanisms,” important forms of contemporary design expression in a context of rapid growth, widening inequalities, climate change and lack of resilience. It derives inspiration from vernacular precedents in advocating for an integrated, decentralized approach to addressing current urban water challenges. It explores the contemporary relevance of the sabil, a prominent civic feature of Islamic cities intended for the charitable dispensation of water. More specifically, this essay considers the contemporary relevance and potency of the sabil-kuttab, a hybrid building type unique to the city of Cairo in which a school (kuttab) sits atop a sabil. Such a type offers helpful guidance in devising principles and precepts relevant to contemporary infrastructural design in that: (1) it offers encouragement to advocate for distributed urban water systems as civically prominent elements of cities, particularly as these systems combine with other important community-focused programmatic features; and (2) given a reimagining of urban water systems as critical forms of cultural production, it offers encouragement for interdisciplinary teams to commit to the task of infrastructure planning as a promising locus of integrative design.
Evapotranspiration (ET) is strongly influenced by gradual climate change and fluctuations in meteorological conditions, such as earlier snowmelt and occurrence of droughts. While numerous studies have investigated how climate change influences the inter-annual variability of ET, very few studies focused on quantifying how subseasonal events control the intra-variability of ET. In this study, we developed the concept of subseasonal regimes, whose timing and duration are determined statistically using Hidden Markov Models (HMM) based on meteorological conditions. We tested the value of subseasonal regimes for quantitatively characterizing the variability of seasonal and subseasonal events, including the onset of snow accumulation, snowmelt, growing season, monsoon, and defoliation. We examined how ET varied as a function of the timing of these events within a year and across six watersheds in the region. Variability of annual ET across these six sites is much less significant than the variability in hydroclimate attributes at the sites. Subseasonal ET, defined as the total ET during a given subseasonal regime, provides a measure of intra-annual variability of ET. Our study suggests that snowmelt and monsoon timing influence regime transitions and duration, such as earlier snowmelt can increase springtime ET rapidly but can trigger long-lasting fore-summer drought conditions that lead to decrease subseasonal ET. Overall, our approach provides an enhanced statistically based framework for quantifying how the timing of subseasonal-event transitions influence ET variability. The improved understanding of subseasonal ET variability is important for predicting the future impact of climate change on water resources from the Upper Colorado River Basin regions.
In a recent editorial in the journal Nature Sustainability, the editors raised the concern that journal submissions on water studies appear too similar. The gist of the editorial: “too many publications and not enough ideas.” In this response, we contest this notion, and point to the numerous new ideas that result from taking a broader view of the water science field. Drawing inspiration from a recently hosted conference geared at transcending traditional disciplinary silos and forging new paradigms for water research, we are, in fact, enthusiastic and optimistic about the ways scientists are investigating political, economic, historical, and cultural intersections toward more just and sustainable human-water relations and ways of knowing.
Regulators require the gas industry to assess the risks of unintentional release of chemicals to the environment and implement measures to mitigate it. Industry standard models for contaminant transport in aquifers do not explicitly model processes in the unsaturated zone and groundwater models often require long run times to complete simulation of complex processes. We propose a stochastic numerical-analytical hybrid model to overcome these two shortcomings and demonstrate its application to assess the risks associated with onshore gas drilling in the Otway Basin, South Australia. The novel approach couples HYDRUS-1D to an analytical solution to model contaminant transport in the aquifer. Groundwater velocities and chemical trajectories were derived from a particle tracking analysis. The most influential parameters controlling solute delivery to the aquifer were the soil chemical degradation constant and the hydraulic conductivity of a throttle soil horizon. Only 18% of the flow paths intercepted environmental receptors within a 1-km radius from the source, 87% of which had concentrations of <1% of the source. The proposed methodology assesses the risk to environmental assets and informs regulators to implement measures that mitigate risk down to an acceptable level.
Fractures in Earth's critical zone influence groundwater flow and storage and promote chemical weathering. Fractured materials are difficult to characterize on large spatial scales because they contain fractures that span a range of sizes, have complex spatial distributions, and are often inaccessible. Therefore, geophysical characterizations of the critical zone depend on the scale of measurements and on the response of the medium to impulses at that scale. Using P-wave velocities collected at two scales, we show that seismic velocities in the fractured bedrock layer of the critical zone are scale-dependent. The smaller-scale velocities, derived from sonic logs with a dominant wavelength of ~0.3 m, show substantial vertical and lateral heterogeneity in the fractured rock, with sonic velocities varying by 2,000 m/s over short lateral distances (~20 m), indicating strong spatial variations in fracture density. In contrast, the larger-scale velocities, derived from seismic refraction surveys with a dominant wavelength of ~50 m, are notably slower than the sonic velocities (a difference of ~3,000 m/s) and lack lateral heterogeneity. We show that this discrepancy is a consequence of contrasting measurement scales between the two methods; in other words, the contrast is not an artifact but rather information—the signature of a fractured medium (weathered/fractured bedrock) when probed at vastly different scales. We explore the sample volumes of each measurement and show that surface refraction velocities provide reliable estimates of critical zone thickness but are relatively insensitive to lateral changes in fracture density at scales of a few tens of meters. At depth, converging refraction and sonic velocities likely indicate the top of unweathered bedrock, indicative of material with similar fracture density across scales.
We used the EPA SWMM-5. 1 model to evaluate the relative impact of neighborhood design and constructed Low Impact Development (LID) features on infiltration, evaporation, and runoff for three future scenarios. In the Current Course (CC) future, current regulations and policies remain in place under lower rates of climate change and population growth. In the Stressed Resources (SR) future, rapid rates of population growth and climate change stress water systems, and conventional development patterns and management actions fail to keep pace with a changing environment. In the Integrated Water (IW) future, with the same rapid rates of climate change and population growth as the SR future, informed water management anticipates and adapts to expected changes. The IW scenario retains public open space, extensive use of constructed LID features, and has the lowest proportion of impervious surface. Neighborhood designs varied in the number of dwelling units, density of development, and spatial extent of nature-based solutions and constructed LID features used for stormwater management. We compared the scenarios using SWMM-5.1 for a set of NRCS Type 1a design storms (2-yr, 25-yr, 20% increase over 25-yr, 30% increase over 25-yr) with precipitation input at 6-min time steps as well as a set of 10-year continuous runs. Results illustrate the importance of neighborhood design in urban hydrology. The design with the highest proportion of impervious surface (SR future) produced runoff of up to 45–50% of precipitation for all variations of the 25-year storm, compared to 34–44 and 23–39% for the CC and IW futures, respectively. Evaporation accounted for only 2–3% of precipitation in the 25-year design storm simulations for any scenario. Results of continuous 10-year simulations were similar to the results of design storms. The proportion of precipitation that became runoff was highest in the SR future (33%), intermediate in the CC (16%), and lowest in the IW future (9%). Evaporation accounted for 6, 11, and 14 of precipitation in the SR, CC, and IW futures with LID, respectively. Infiltration was higher in scenarios with LID than for the same scenario without LID, and varied with the extent of LID employed, accounting for 59, 71, and 74% of precipitation in the SR, CC, and IW scenarios with LID. In addition to differences in performance for stormwater management, the alternative scenarios also provide different sets of co-benefits. The IW and SR future designs both provide more housing than the CC, and the IW future has the lowest cost of development per dwelling unit.
Growing dependence on groundwater to fulfill the water demands has led to continuous depletion of groundwater levels and, consequently, poses the maintenance of optimum groundwater and management challenge. The region of South Bihar faces regular drought and flood situations, and due to the excessive pumping, the groundwater resources are declining. Rainwater harvesting has been recommended for the region; however, there are no hydrogeological studies concerning groundwater recharge. Aquifer storage and recovery (ASR) is a managed aquifer recharge technique to store excess water in the aquifer through borewells to meet the high-water demand in the dry season. Therefore, this paper presents the hydrogeological feasibility for possible ASR installations in shallow aquifers of South Bihar with the help of flowing fluid electrical conductivity (FFEC) logging. For modeling, the well logging data of two shallow borewells (16- and 47-m depth) at Rajgir, Nalanda, were used to obtain the transmissivity and thickness of the aquifers. The estimated transmissivities were 804 m2/day with an aquifer thickness of 5 m (in between 11 and 16 m) at Ajatshatru Residential Hall (ARH) well. They were 353 and 1,154 m2/day with the aquifer thicknesses of 6 m (in between 16 and 22 m) and 2 m (in between 45 and 47 m), respectively, at Nalanda University Campus (NUC) well. Despite the acceptable transmissivities at these sites, those aquifers may not be fruitful for the medium- to large-scale (more than 100-m3/day injection rate) ASR as the thickness of the aquifers is relatively small and may not efficiently store and withdraw a large amount of water. However, these aquifers can be adequate for small (up to 20-m3/day injection rate) ASR, for example, groundwater recharge using rooftop water. For medium- to large-scale ASR, deeper aquifers need to be further explored on these sites or aquifers with similar characteristics.