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Title: Water supply, waste assimilation, and low‐flow issues facing the Southeast Piedmont Interstate‐85 urban archipelago

Rapidly growing cities along the Interstate‐85 corridor from Atlanta, GA, to Raleigh, NC, rely on small rivers for water supply and waste assimilation. These rivers share commonalities including water supply stress during droughts, seasonally low flows for wastewater dilution, increasing drought and precipitation extremes, downstream eutrophication issues, and high regional aquatic diversity. Further challenges include rapid growth; sprawl that exacerbates water quality and infrastructure issues; water infrastructure that spans numerous counties and municipalities; and large numbers of septic systems. Holistic multi‐jurisdiction cooperative water resource planning along with policy and infrastructure modifications is necessary to adapt to population growth and climate. We propose six actions to improve water infrastructure resilience: increase water‐use efficiency by municipal, industrial, agricultural, and thermoelectric power sectors; adopt indirect potable reuse or closed loop systems; allow for water sharing during droughts but regulate inter‐basin transfers to protect aquatic ecosystems; increase nutrient recovery and reduce discharges of carbon and nutrients in effluents; employ green infrastructure and better stormwater management to reduce nonpoint pollutant loadings and mitigate urban heat island effects; and apply the CRIDA framework to incorporate climate and hydrologic uncertainty into water planning.

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Journal Name:
JAWRA Journal of the American Water Resources Association
Medium: X Size: p. 1146-1161
p. 1146-1161
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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