Category: Planning & Management
Virginia boasts plentiful water resources, however, the need for more stringent water management is rising as population increases and climate changes. This study summarizes key aspects of water usage in Virginia via a broad-scale analysis of multiple water users through forty years of time-series records from Virginia Department of Environmental Quality. A full spectrum of users is considered, including energy, industrial, agricultural and municipal. We also investigate explanatory variables associated with water use, such as climate and economic conditions, using panel regression. Preliminary analysis confirms some existing knowledge, such as the association between higher rainfall and lower agricultural water use. Other results, such as a strong positive relationship between industrial use and temperature, are surprising, and inform the extent to which water use responds to seasonal variations in humid climates like Virginia. A better understanding of water use spatially and temporally is requisite for both routine water management and for long term planning under climate change.
Department of Biological Systems Engineering, Virginia Tech