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  1. The Colorado River Basin (CRB) supports the water supply for seven states and forty million people in the Western United States (US) and has been suffering an extensive drought for more than two decades. As climate change continues to reshape water resources distribution in the CRB, its impact can differ in intensity and location, resulting in variations in human adaptation behaviors. The feedback from human systems in response to the environmental changes and the associated uncertainty is critical to water resources management, especially for water-stressed basins. This paper investigates how human adaptation affects water scarcity uncertainty in the CRB andmore »highlights the uncertainties in human behavior modeling. Our focus is on agricultural water consumption, as approximately 80% of the water consumption in the CRB is used in agriculture. We adopted a coupled agent-based and water resources modeling approach for exploring human-water system dynamics, in which an agent is a human behavior model that simulates a farmer’s water consumption decisions. We examined uncertainties at the system, agent, and parameter levels through uncertainty, clustering, and sensitivity analyses. The uncertainty analysis results suggest that the CRB water system may experience 13 to 30 years of water shortage during the 2019–2060 simulation period, depending on the paths of farmers’ adaptation. The clustering analysis identified three decision-making classes: bold, prudent, and forward-looking, and quantified the probabilities of an agent belonging to each class. The sensitivity analysis results indicated agents whose decision making models require further investigation and the parameters with the higher uncertainty reduction potentials. By conducting numerical experiments with the coupled model, this paper presents quantitative and qualitative information about farmers’ adaptation, water scarcity uncertainties, and future research directions for improving human behavior modeling.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available June 9, 2023
  2. The world faces mounting challenges related to food, energy, and water security. Modeling approaches have emerged in the last decade to address this problem with mixed outcomes across a range of boundaries, including local, regional, national, and by research agendas. This paper delves into a comprehensive meta-analysis of the literature to identify the prevalence and strengths of these emergent approaches on the agendas they were applied to, the boundary levels, nexus dimensions, and the perspectives of the social and political dynamics. The research highlights the critical gaps that remain in the intersection of the different nexus agendas. A crucial observationmore »was the scarcity of food, energy, and water models that incorporate technology adoption and economic implementation of nexus projects. On the core dimensions of the nexus, there is an important opportunity to include ecosystems, soil health, human health, and waste as key nexus dimensions. Although it is difficult to include social and political dynamics in nexus studies, this research identified proxies including (1) stakeholder interactions; (2) the intersection of access, security, and education; and (3) trade patterns and measures of prosperity.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available June 1, 2023
  3. Free, publicly-accessible full text available January 1, 2023
  4. The nexus of food, energy, and water systems offers a meaningful lens to evaluate hydroelectric dam removal decisions. Maintaining adequate power supplies and flourishing fish populations hangs on the balance of managing the tradeoffs of water resource management. Aside from energy adequacy, substituting hydropower with other renewable energy sources impacts the overall energy dispatch behavior of the grid, including emissions of existing fossil fuels. This study extends earlier work in the literature to evaluate the adequacy impact to the power supply by removing four Lower Snake River dams in the Columbia River Basin in favor of supporting migratory salmon populations.more »The authors explore the climate performance, i.e., fossil fuel dispatch changes, of simulated renewable substitution portfolios to supplement performance metrics alongside adequacy and initial investment metrics. The study finds that including the climate metric greatly influences the favorability of some alternative portfolios that would otherwise be overlooked, with some portfolios improving climate mitigation efforts by reducing emissions over the baseline scenario. The contribution is in advancing a straightforward and supplementary climate performance method that can accompany any energy portfolio analysis.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available December 13, 2022
  5. Free, publicly-accessible full text available October 1, 2022
  6. Dam removal is gaining both support and resistance in different communities and political circles in the Pacific Northwest of the United States; given its sensitive environmental and economic consequences. The Columbia River Basin (CRB) offers a unique opportunity to examine to what extent the replacement of hydroelectric dams affects reliability and adequacy of the power system given long-standing proposals to remove the four Lower Snake River dams to improve the survival of the endangered salmon species. Key results show that replacing the four dams leads to an inadequate energy supply necessitating the need for more capacity to satisfy requirements. Althoughmore »the four dams have higher nameplate capacity, they provide a much lower effective capacity. Thus, the debate about removing dams should be an opportunity for CRB managers to consider investment options in new ecosystem services and energy solutions that maintain adequate performance.« less
  7. To address the effects of climate change, it is imperative for economies to proactively invest in, and deploy, low carbon energy technologies to meet current energy demands. To this effect, several states in the U.S. have implemented policies to incentivize the growth of renewable energy technologies. One of these policies is the renewable portfolio standards (RPS), which mandates that a certain percentage of the total electricity sales of utilities be sourced from renewable energy sources. This paper examines the effectiveness of these policies in driving the growth of specific renewable technologies across different regional transmission organizations (RTOs). It evaluates themore »adoption of renewable energy technologies across these RTOs to provide insights on the varying successes of these policies. The paper develops a ranking system for the correlations between the strength of RPS and renewable energy capacity growth across the RTOs. Two central observations emerge. First, despite the presence of positive correlations between RPS and renewable energy capacity additions, the capacity growth of renewable energy is not monotonic in time as technological differences characterize regional attributes. Second, the technology returns on RPS mandates are location-specific.« less