Date of Award

8-2017

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Civil Engineering

Committee Member

Ashok K. Mishra, Ph.D., Committee Chair

Committee Member

Abdul A. Khan, Ph.D.

Committee Member

N. Ravichandran, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Charles Privette, III, Ph.D.

Abstract

Water scarcity and drought are major threats to water security. Quantifying and defining boundaries between these threats are necessary to properly assess water security of a region. A comprehensive assessment of water security in terms of water scarcity, water vulnerability and drought can address water policy issues related to hydrological conditions and their interactions with societal and ecosystem functioning. Therefore, study of water security can provide useful information to multiple stakeholders. The overarching goal of this thesis is to improve water security in river basins around the world. To demonstrate our proposed methods, we selected Savannah River Basin (SRB) as a case study. In addition to water security assessment of SRB, we also explored the combined as well as individual roles of climate, anthropogenic (e.g., urbanization, agriculture, water demand) and ecological elements on various aspects of water security. Realizing the importance of water security impacts on society and ecosystem, the following objectives are formulated: 1) To investigate the blue and green water security of Savannah River Basin by applying the water footprint concept. 2) To quantify the influence of climate variability and land use change on streamflow, ecosystem services, and water scarcity. 3) To assess the climate, catchment, and morphological variables control over hydrological drought of a river basin. To summarize, the results obtained from first objective shows that our proposed modeling framework can be applied to investigate spatio-temporal pattern of blue and green water footprints as well as water security at a county scale for SRB, thereby locating the emerging hot spots within the river basin. The results obtained from second objective indicate that the land use change and climate variability have a key influence (either concomitant or independent) in altering the blue (green) water and related water security over the basin. The results based on third objective demonstrate that in addition to climate variables, catchment and morphological properties significantly control short, medium and long-term duration of hydrological droughts in SRB. An integrated modeling framework was developed to achieve these objectives and additional findings are explained in detail through the following chapters.

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