Projects Worked On
|A decision support system for water resources management: An Application to Monterrey, Mexico||
This project integrates hydrologic and socioeconomic data into a water management decision support system using hydro-economic principles. Goals are to organize and exchange hydrologic and socioeconomic data; develop long-term hydrologic and socioeconomic scenarios; model a large, multi-objective metropolitan water system using hydro-economics; and identify and compare promising water management strategies.
Image Credit: Aguilar-Barajas, I., Sisto, N.P., Ramirez-Orozco, A.I. (2015)A Agua para Monterrey. Logros, Retos y oportunidades para Nuevo Leon y Mexico. Cento del Agua para America Latina y el Caribe. Agencia Promotora de Publicaciones S.A. de C.V. N.L. Monterrey, Meixico.
Collaborators: Aldo Ramirez-Orozco
|Advanced Hard Biofuels||
Advanced Hardwood Biofuels Northwest (AHB) is a consortium of Pacific Northwest university and industry partners led by the University of Washington. AHB is carrying out research and development to support a system that will use renewable feedstocks like hybrid poplar to produce a suite of products that are currently derived from petroleum. AHB will focus on the development of a renewable bio-based chemical industry. Developing poplar-based biofuels including jet fuel, diesel, and gasoline that can supplement existing fossil fuels is the long term goal. A bio-based chemical and fuel industry will revitalize rural communities through job creation and economic development, decrease the nation’s dependence on foreign oil, and move the nation toward a clean energy and product economy based on renewable materials with a low carbon footprint.
Economic Analysis of Poplar Production Adoption in Farmlands of the Northwest United States
Fuel biomass producing crops like poplar have the potential of providing renewable sources of energy with positive net carbon footprints, and economic returns. This research project explores the potential of poplar adoption in the Pacific Northwest considering an incumbent crop mix and existing economic information on crop prices, yields and productions costs. The model employs a programming approach whose objective is to maximize net returns to land and management and self-calibrates to a base dataset of incumbent crops without poplar adoption. The crop mix includes field crops, forages and grains, which have a relatively low return per unit area. Poplar both irrigated and rainfed is introduced by employing a decreasing returns to scale production function obtained from simulated yields. The model evaluates for a range of prices of poplar, the crop mix that will maximize net returns to farm and management. Modeling results indicate that poplar can displace some of the incumbent crop groups provided farmgate price of the poplar biomass is high enough.
|Agricultural Production, Water Use and Employment||
This program quantifies agricultural production, land use, water use, economic value and employment using optimization approaches such as the SWAP model (http://SWAP.ucdavis.edu) and statistical information. Below we show some links to information
|An Agent-Based Model of Farmer Decision Making in Jordan||
The model employs a Multi-Agent-Simulation (MAS) framework and is designed to evaluate direct and indirect outcomes of climate change scenarios and policy interventions on farmer decision making, including annual land use, groundwater use for irrigation, and water sales to a water tanker market. Land use and water use decisions are simulated for groups of farms grouped by location and their behavioural and economic similarities. We adapt the Positive Mathematical Programming (PMP) approach to allow explicit evaluation of the impact of pumping costs, groundwater purchase fees and a water tanker market. The proposed approach is designed and implemented with software such that it could be used to evaluate a variety of physical and human influences on decision making in agricultural water management.
Collaborators: Steven Gorelick
|California Fourth Climate Change Assessment||
Economic and Environmental Implications of California Crop and Livestock Adaptations to Climate Change and Climate Policy
To more accurately estimate the threat posed by sea level rise and intense storms to coastal infrastructure, this research will provide assess coastal flood risk accounting for changing climate patterns, erosion rates, shifting beach forms, and vertical land movement. Methods will be developed to support site-specific, project level assessments of coastal vulnerabilities to sea level rise through integration of models of projected sea level rise and climate scenarios, coupled with local and regional-scale erosion rates and vertical land motion estimates.
Collaborators: Daniel A. Sumner
California’s complex water management system often defies comprehensive analysis. We summarize the results of a decade of quantification and analysis of this system from a hydro-economic perspective using the CALVIN Model.
The general approach taken dates back to Roman times, when Frontinus (97 AD) began his oversight of Rome’s water system with a systematic inventory and quantification of its water infrastructure.
This approach has been formalized and expanded in the modern era as economists, planners, and engineers have sought to grapple with complex water management systems and problems.
In California water supply and demand is inconvenient in both space and time. Most water availability is in northern California from winter precipitation and spring snow-melt; whereas water demands are more in the south during the dry summer. Major floods and seasonal and multiyear droughts further complicate water resource management in California. The Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta is the major north-south hub for this water network.
Population growth, climate change, a vulnerable Delta, and decentralized water governance pose opportunities and challenges to water management in California. Portfolios of water management activities, including diverse general policy tools, demand management, and operations and supply expansion options, are available to manage competing demands in complex situations.
Exploring promising portfolios of actions is the main intent of the CALVIN model. The CALVIN model is an economic-engineering optimization model of California developed at the University of California – Davis. CALVIN’s major innovations are its statewide (rather than project) scale, representation of a broad range of water management options, explicit integration of broad economic objectives, and its consequent applicability to a wide variety of policy, operations, and planning problems.
|Crop Economics Map 1998-2010||
California Crop Economics Map
This website provides preliminary information on irrigated land areas, water use and crop value over various hydrologic boundaries. Information from the California Department of Water Resources (http://www.water.ca.gov/landwateruse/anlwuest.cfm) on land and water use, and economic information from the SWAP model (swap.ucdavis.edu) for 20 crop groups are employed. You can select the hydrologic boundaries, and the parameter to display by checking the appropriate boxes. The sliding rule allows you to select the year of the information from 1998 to 2010. This will be updated as more data becomes available. Please contact Josue Medellin for any questions or comments. Last update: 1/21/2016.
|Delta Consumptive Water Use Comparative Study||
A Comparative Study for Estimating Crop Evapotranspiration in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta
This research project was convened by the Center for Watershed Sciences at the University of California Davis with financial support from the California State Water Resources Control Board Office of the Delta Watermaster and other agencies. Its objective is to develop a better understanding of consumptive water use in the Delta by coordinating modeling, measurement, and other information from a variety of independent research and estimation efforts.
Consumptive water use by crops, often referred to as evapotranspiration (ET), is frequently the largest component of an agricultural region’s water balance. This study investigates crop consumptive use in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta (“Delta”) of California using a comparative approach with several prominent methods for estimating crop ET, including estimates based on crop coefficients, water balances, energy balance using remote sensing, and field measurements.
Crop ET estimates are provided for both the Legal Delta and the Delta Service Area (DSA) for two water years (2015 and 2016) by seven methods:
In addition, field-based estimates and measurements of ET using eddy covariance and estimates with surface renewal stations were developed over bare soil during the fall of 2015 and over three predominant crops in the Delta (alfalfa, corn, and pasture) in the 2016 irrigation season. One direct ET measurement station was also deployed in 2016. Five additional California Irrigation Management Information System (CIMIS) stations were deployed in the Delta in 2016 to improve the spatial representation of weather variables and accuracy in input datasets of reference ET estimates. Two annual land use parcel surveys for 2015 and 2016 were conducted by Land IQ, Inc., which provided updated land use maps over the study area with more than 30 land use classes. A total of 26 agricultural classes were used for ET estimates and analysis.
Additional Funding and Research Support from
California State Water Resources Control Board, California Department of Water Resources, Delta Protection Commission, Delta Stewardship Council, North Delta Water Agency, Central Delta Water Agency, South Delta Water Agency, Center for Watershed Sciences, and UC Water. Project managemnt support from Cathryn Lawrence at the Center for Watershed Sciences is aknowledged.
Project Documents and Datasets
Full Authors and Contributors List
Report Preparation and Research Assistance
Field Campaign Group
Peer Review Panel
1 Center for Watershed Sciences, University of California, Davis
|Drought's Economic Impact on Agriculture||
UC Davis researchers forecast the socio-economic effects of the drought on California agriculture for 2014 and beyond. Economists use computer models and the latest estimates of water deliveries, well-pumping capacities and acres fallowed. The researchers exploit new satellite remote-sensing technologies to estimate fallowed acreage as the drought unfolds.
2016 Study Downloads
Economic Analysis of the 2016 California Drought for Agriculture (California Water Blog, August 15, 2016)
Estimates of Irrigated Cropland Idled due to the 2016 California Drought: Clarifications and Supplemental Information (NEW! Memorandum, September 1, 2016)
Collaborators: Duncan MacEwan
|Economic Assessment of Payments of Hydrologic Environmental Services in Mexico||
Payment for Hydrological Environmental Services in Mexico
By Itzel Carvajal and Remedios Hernández
Environmental services are intangibles benefits that nature gives to humans as CO2 capture, erosion control, groundwater recharge, and others. Payment for Hydrological Environmental Services (PSAH) in Mexico dates back to 2003 and it was originally financed by a portion of the fees collected by water utilities.
Several laws, regulations, standards and guidelines comfort a framework for the PSAH establishment and operation. May agencies involved in PSAH in Mexico include the National Water Commission (CONAGUA), The National Forestry Commission (CONAFOR) and the Environment Secretariat (SEMARNAT). These three government entities are responsible to establish, fund, review and monitor each one of the programs related to payment for environmental services.
PSAH programs give an economic incentive or cash payment to owners or holders of forest land for providing hydrological services. The lands must establish and implement a sustainable development plan and set of actions and be attractive to providers and beneficiaries of these services. In this report, a overview of payments for environmental services is presented with a case study in the region of Acayucan, Veracruz.
In Mexico, Payment for Hydrological Environmental Services is relatively a new topic, and despite the outreach work of institutions and the existing economic support to programs, poor organization and operation of these programs raise some concerns among this entities and offers ample opportunities for improvement.
The Middle East and North Africa have longstanding water supply and sanitation challenges. In 2011, US Agency for International Development (USAID) partnered with Development Alternatives Inc. to end the global freshwater crisis by implementing the Furthering the Blue Revolution Initiative (FABRI). This program helps create Middle East and North Africa Network of Water Centers of Excellence (MENA NWC). Designed and launched by USAID through FABRI, DAI has partnered with the UC Davis College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences International Programs office to provide critical guidance on water resource and wastewater management in the formation of MENA NWC. The Center for Watershed Sciences is spearheading UC Davis participation in FABRI. UC Davis, along with four other U.S. public universities, is providing strategic guidance and research assistance to developing countries in these regions. It is the beginning of a long-term relationship with USAID and a continuation of the Center’s work in support of international research.
Water resource management in California is often extensive and complex and deserves a comprehensive data and modeling approach. The Hobbes Project is a new effort to provide a venue for modelers in California and elsewhere to create an open, organized and documented quantitative representation of the state's intertied water resources system. Geocoded elements in this database can be interactively converted into tiered networks able to be solved by multiple modeling platforms depending on user preferences, with the appropriate translators. Many Hobbes tools will be web-based with exporting capabilities to the most common analytical and modeling software.
The Hobbes Project will include:
As shown in Figure 1, users of the Hobbes Project will be able to visualize different documented elements in a common web-based mapping application, run specific modeling networks using either the Hobbes basic database, network managers scenario manager software pieces and visualize model outputs in tabular form, chart templates, maps or simply exporting the modeling network, its input data and/or its modeling output to be used in other platforms.
For more information, please see the project website at http://hobbes.ucdavis.edu
|Integrated Environmental Modeling||
Integrated Modeling for Adaptive Management of Estuarine Systems
May 21-22, 2015, UC Davis Campus
Like many estuarine systems, California’s Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta needs to revolutionize how models and data are developed and integrated to support adaptive management. Durable and adaptive solutions must account for a cascade of interacting social, economic, and ecological effects.
The National Science Foundation is sponsoring an Integrated Modeling Workshop to explore ways to improve the development and application of modeling for multipurpose management of changing estuarine systems. The two-day workshop will bring together experts from Europe, Asia and across the U.S. Potential solutions will be identified and discussed from multiple perspectives: government, academia, NGOs, consultants and stakeholders.
Approaches to be discussed include:
Community modeling leverages the expertise of many public, private, NGO, and academic researchers for understanding complex environmental problems and supporting adaptive management. Community modeling is a way to connect experts on each of the system components through a common framework. Community modeling requires a sustainable business model that works across agencies, universities, NGOs and the private sector.
Public domain models and data can include open source and more proprietary and controlled approaches to develop software and data. Such approaches are especially important where a broad common understanding must be developed among many interests and where alternatives must be compared with transparency and minimal cost.
Integrated Environmental Modeling (IEM) uses information technologies to couple independently developed models. Modular modeling components are assembled flexibly to explore, explain, and forecast the behavior of various system purposes. IEM systems around the world include diverse stand-alone applications and high performance computer clusters.
The workshop is organized by the Delta Stewardship Council/Delta Science Program and UC Davis Center for Watershed Sciences. The National Science Foundation is sponsoring the event in partnership with the California Water and Environmental Modeling Forum and the International Association for Hydro-Environment Engineering and Research.
GRADUATE STUDENTS GRANTS
Student stipends are available on a first come first serve basis. Please fill out the student stipend request form. We can provide an stipend of $100 if located around 50 mi from Davis, $150 if located between 51 and 150 miles from Davis and $300 beyond 150 miles including out of state.
This workshop was supported by the National Science Foundation under Award: A Workshop on Community Integrated Environmental Models (Grant Number 1464440). The Organizing Committee acknowledges supplemental support by the Delta Stewardship Council through the Delta Science Program and the Center for Watershed Sciences.
"Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation."
Collaborators: Christopher Enright
|Satellite Remote Sensing and Consumptive Water Use in the Delta||
This study for the state Delta Protection Commission compared the effectiveness of using new remotely sensed measurement technology to estimate farmers' "consumptive water use," or the amount of irrigation water crops transpire and evaporate from the nearby soil.
Current methods of estimation and reporting of consumptive water use can be time-consuming and costly. The State Water Resources Control Board requires farmers to report the data for each water diversion every three years.
Remote sensing measurements using SEBAL:
We encourage Delta farmers and water districts to collaborate on using remote sensing to reduce the time and cost of estimating and reporting consumptive water use.
|Sustainability-aware Management of Interdependent Power and Water Systems||
While there have been extensive attention and works dedicated to promote in the sustainability in the energy systems, broadly termed to include the subsystems of electricity, petroleum, and natural gas, a somewhat overlooked aspect is the interdependence between energy and other infrastructure systems, especially with water systems, and the potential adverse impacts to economics, reliability, and sustainability caused by such interdependence. For example, regulations in the water sector to preserve freshwater may restrict water usage in the power sector, likely causing reduced available generation capacities and hence jeopardizing the reliability of power systems. On the other hand, environmental policies only focused on the power sector, such as those to encourage adding CO2 capture and sequestration (CCS) capabilities to existing and new coal plants would further strain the water system as coal plants with CCS are among the heaviest users of water. Thus, there is a pressing need to better understand and manage the interdependence of critical infrastructure systems such that the goal of promoting sustainability can be achieved across all systems, while in the meantime, economics and reliability will not be undermined in any particular system. This proposed work is to directly address such a need through advancing the frontiers of the theory, modeling and computation of large-scale, interdependent complex systems by way of distributed, high-scalability computing. The results will be widely disseminated through publications and seminars. Further, the project team will leverage established institutional programs to outreach to the general public, especially to high-school students and teachers, such as through the Engineering Projects In Community Service program and Purdue’s Energy Academy.
As the grand vision of this project is to promote sustainability across interdependent systems, as well as to achieve economic efficiency and to maintain reliability, through decentralized yet coordinated management of individual systems, we are to establish a complete modeling, analytical, and computational framework. Such a framework is based upon the general class of augmented Lagrangian methods (ALM) originated from convex optimization. While the ALM is not a new algorithm, the current implementation of such algorithms has not taken advantage of its distributed feature, which would be particularly suitable to deal with large-scale, interlinked systems. One of the major contributions of this work is to establish the theoretical foundations of distributed ALMs and to implement the algorithms on supercomputer clusters to demonstrate the benefits of distributed computing, which will pave way for cloud computing such that the algorithms can be used by decision-makers even without access to supercomputers. Another contribution is that the ALM algorithms will be extended to incorporate stochastic data, both in terms of theories, such as algorithm convergence, and in terms of implementation. The computational methods will be tested and validated through real-world-sized models of interdependent power and water systems.
Collaborators: Yihsu Chen
Andrew L. Liu
|Water Funds for the Ensenada Region||
The Center for Watershed Sciences in Collaboration with researchers from the Universidad Autonoma de Baja California in Ensenada conducted a Pre-feasibility Assessment for a Water Fund in the Region. A Water Fund in the Ensenada Region may result an attractive water management tool for government agencies, water utilities, urban and agricultural water users and non-governmental or conservation organizations. Improved water management and governance, higher local involvement, compensation for environmental services provision, and enhanced groundwater management supple are among the incentives for the various groups in the Ensenada Region. Costs of activities in a Water Fund for the Ensenada Region and the revenue generating tools require more detailed economic and financial analyses. Furthermore, estimation of net water supply gains from Water Fund activities through hydrological studies is in place. Conclusions from the study include:
Collaborators: Leopoldo Mendoza-Espinosa
|Water Modeling in Agricultural Production||
NEW: ECONOMIC MODELING OF AGRICULTURAL WATER USE AND PRODUCTION WORKSHOP.
This technical workshop in collaboration with the California Water and Enviornmental Modeling Forum (CWEMF). This workshop presents various alternatives for modeling the economics of water use and water scarcity within an agricultural production setting, with a particular focus on California. This 6-hour workshop at UC Davis is intended to bring experts and interested water resources professionals from academia, industry and government agencies to talk and learn about various models and optimization tools that have been used to evaluate the economics surrounding agricultural water use in California, Australia, Chile, and México. Applications using both mathematical programming and hedonic models will be presented. A discussion about modeling needs and future applications for the California water modeling community will be encouraged.
|Water Quality and Hydrodynamics||
Hydrodynamics and Water Quality in the Sacramento San Joaquin Delta
Sea level rise, large-scale flooding, and new conveyance arrangements for water exports may increase future water salinity for local agricultural production in California’s Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. Increasing salinity in crop root zones often decreases crop yields and crop revenues. Salinity effects are nonlinear and vary with crop choice and other factors including drainage and residence time of irrigation water. Here, we explore changes in agricultural production in the Delta under various combinations of water management, large-scale flooding and future sea level rise. Water management alternatives include through-Delta water exports (current conditions), dual conveyance (through-Delta and a 6,700 Mm3yr-1 [or 7500 cfs] capacity peripheral canal or tunnel) and the flooding of five western islands with and without peripheral exports. We employ results from previous hydrodynamic simulations of likely changes in salinity for irrigation water at points in the Delta. We connect these irrigation water salinity values into a detailed agro-economic model of Delta agriculture to estimate local crop yield and farm revenue losses. Previous hydrodynamic modeling work shows that sea level rise is likely to increase salinity from 4% to 130% in this century, depending on the increase in sea level and location. Changes in water management under dual conveyance increase salinity mostly in the western Delta, and to a lesser extent in the north, where current salinity levels are now quite low. Because locations likely to experience the largest salinity increases already have a lower-value crop mix, the worst case losses are less than one percent of total Delta crop revenues. This result also holds for salinity increases from permanent flooding of western islands that serve as a salinity barrier. Our results suggest that salinity increases could have much smaller economic effects on Delta farming than other likely changes in the Delta such as retirement of agricultural lands following large-scale flooding and habitat development. Integrating hydrodynamic, water salinity, and economic models can provide insights into controversial management issues.