7 research outputs found

    Deconstructing Demand: The Anthropogenic and Climatic Drivers of Urban Water Consumption

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    Cities in drought prone regions of the world such as South East Australia are faced with escalating water scarcity and security challenges. Here we use 72 years of urban water consumption data from Melbourne, Australia, a city that recently overcame a 12 year ‚ÄúMillennium Drought‚ÄĚ, to evaluate (1) the relative importance of climatic and anthropogenic drivers of urban water demand (using wavelet-based approaches) and (2) the relative contribution of various water saving strategies to demand reduction during the Millennium Drought. Our analysis points to conservation as a dominant driver of urban water savings (69%), followed by nonrevenue water reduction (e.g., reduced meter error and leaks in the potable distribution system; 29%), and potable substitution with alternative sources like rain or recycled water (3%). Per-capita consumption exhibited both climatic and anthropogenic signatures, with rainfall and temperature explaining approximately 55% of the variance. Anthropogenic controls were also strong (up to 45% variance explained). These controls were nonstationary and frequency-specific, with conservation measures like outdoor water restrictions impacting seasonal water use and technological innovation/changing social norms impacting lower frequency (baseline) use. The above-noted nonstationarity implies that wavelets, which do not assume stationarity, show promise for use in future predictive models of demand

    First-Order Contaminant Removal in the Hyporheic Zone of Streams: Physical Insights from a Simple Analytical Model

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    A simple analytical model is presented for the removal of stream-borne contaminants by hyporheic exchange across duned or rippled streambeds. The model assumes a steady-state balance between contaminant supply from the stream and first-order reaction in the sediment. Hyporheic exchange occurs by bed form pumping, in which water and contaminants flow into bed forms in high-pressure regions (downwelling zones) and out of bed forms in low-pressure regions (upwelling zones). Model-predicted contaminant concentrations are higher in downwelling zones than upwelling zones, reflecting the strong coupling that exists between transport and reaction in these systems. When flow-averaged, the concentration difference across upwelling and downwelling zones drives a net contaminant flux into the sediment bed proportional to the average downwelling velocity. The downwelling velocity is functionally equivalent to a mass transfer coefficient, and can be estimated from stream state variables including stream velocity, bed form geometry, and the hydraulic conductivity and porosity of the sediment. Increasing the mass transfer coefficient increases the fraction of streamwater cycling through the hyporheic zone (per unit length of stream) but also decreases the time contaminants undergo first-order reaction in the sediment. As a consequence, small changes in stream state variables can significantly alter the performance of hyporheic zone treatment systems

    Small Drains, Big Problems: The Impact of Dry Weather Runoff on Shoreline Water Quality at Enclosed Beaches

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    Enclosed beaches along urban coastlines are frequent hot spots of fecal indicator bacteria (FIB) pollution. In this paper we present field measurements and modeling studies aimed at evaluating the impact of small storm drains on FIB pollution at enclosed beaches in Newport Bay, the second largest tidal embayment in Southern California. Our results suggest that small drains have a disproportionate impact on enclosed beach water quality for five reasons: (1) dry weather surface flows (primarily from overirrigation of lawns and ornamental plants) harbor FIB at concentrations exceeding recreational water quality criteria; (2) small drains can trap dry weather runoff during high tide, and then release it in a bolus during the falling tide when drainpipe outlets are exposed; (3) nearshore turbulence is low (turbulent diffusivities approximately 10<sup>‚Äď3</sup> m<sup>2</sup> s<sup>‚Äď1</sup>), limiting dilution of FIB and other runoff-associated pollutants once they enter the bay; (4) once in the bay, runoff can form buoyant plumes that further limit vertical mixing and dilution; and (5) local winds can force buoyant runoff plumes back against the shoreline, where water depth is minimal and human contact likely. Outdoor water conservation and urban retrofits that minimize the volume of dry and wet weather runoff entering the local storm drain system may be the best option for improving beach water quality in Newport Bay and other urban-impacted enclosed beaches

    DataSheet1_Freshwater salinization syndrome limits management efforts to improve water quality.pdf

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    Freshwater Salinization Syndrome (FSS) refers to groups of biological, physical, and chemical impacts which commonly occur together in response to salinization. FSS can be assessed by the mobilization of chemical mixtures, termed ‚Äúchemical cocktails‚ÄĚ, in watersheds. Currently, we do not know if salinization and mobilization of chemical cocktails along streams can be mitigated or reversed using restoration and conservation strategies. We investigated 1) the formation of chemical cocktails temporally and spatially along streams experiencing different levels of restoration and riparian forest conservation and 2) the potential for attenuation of chemical cocktails and salt ions along flowpaths through conservation and restoration areas. We monitored high-frequency temporal and longitudinal changes in streamwater chemistry in response to different pollution events (i.e., road salt, stormwater runoff, wastewater effluent, and baseflow conditions) and several types of watershed management or conservation efforts in six urban watersheds in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. Principal component analysis (PCA) indicates that chemical cocktails which formed along flowpaths (i.e., permanent reaches of a stream) varied due to pollution events. In response to winter road salt applications, the chemical cocktails were enriched in salts and metals (e.g., Na+, Mn, and Cu). During most baseflow and stormflow conditions, chemical cocktails were less enriched in salt ions and trace metals. Downstream attenuation of salt ions occurred during baseflow and stormflow conditions along flowpaths through regional parks, stream-floodplain restorations, and a national park. Conversely, chemical mixtures of salt ions and metals, which formed in response to multiple road salt applications or prolonged road salt exposure, did not show patterns of rapid attenuation downstream. Multiple linear regression was used to investigate variables that influence changes in chemical cocktails along flowpaths. Attenuation and dilution of salt ions and chemical cocktails along stream flowpaths was significantly related to riparian forest buffer width, types of salt pollution, and distance downstream. Although salt ions and chemical cocktails can be attenuated and diluted in response to conservation and restoration efforts at lower concentration ranges, there can be limitations in attenuation during road salt events, particularly if storm drains bypass riparian buffers.</p