Sustainability

Oral

398054 - A network approach for determining the hydro-economic resiliency of U.S. cities

Tuesday, June 5
4:00 PM - 5:30 PM
Location: Northstar B
Co-Authors: Alfonso Mejia, University Park – Pennsylvania State University

Through the concentration of people and consequent demand for resources, cities are major drivers of flows in the U.S. virtual water network (VWN). Therefore, disturbances to a city node in the VWN, such as those associated with major floods or droughts, can have negative impacts on neighboring and distant nodes, potentially leading to a cascading failure effect on the network. The hydro-economic resiliency is an indicator of the capacity of a city to recover from disturbances in the VWN. We hypothesize that a city with high resiliency has to obtain virtual water from a large number of nodes with hydro-economic dissimilar characteristics to the city under analysis and from nodes with high diversity relative to each other. To address this hypothesis, we develop a framework, based on a network approach, to determine the hydro-economic resiliency of 65 U.S. cities for the years 1997, 2002, 2007, and 2012. The framework combines disparate data (population, GDP, virtual water content, commodity flows, etc.) to build the U.S. VWN and determine the hydro-economic resiliency of U.S. cities. City boundaries are delineated based on metropolitan areas, as this is the native resolution of the source datasets. To calculate the resiliency, hydro-economic functional distance indicators such as drought correlation, urban classification, and physical distance, among others, are used. We find that U.S. cities have varying levels of hydro-economic diversity and resiliency, potentially making some cities very susceptible to disturbances. We also show how the cities’ hydro-economic resiliency changes with time, which may in turn be used to potentially identify harmful trajectories.

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