The Economics of Groundwater Replenishment for Reliable Urban Water Supply

Other literature type, Article English OPEN
Gao, Lei ; Connor, Jeffery ; Dillon, Peter (2014)
  • Publisher: Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute
  • Journal: Water (issn: 2073-4441)
  • Related identifiers: doi: 10.3390/w6061662
  • Subject: risk assessment | economics | Water supply for domestic and industrial purposes | TD201-500 | drought | TC1-978 | Hydraulic engineering | groundwater | Markov switching model | Monte Carlo | water allocation

This paper explores the potential economic benefits of water banking in aquifers to meet drought and emergency supplies for cities where the population is growing and changing climate has reduced the availability of water. A simplified case study based on the city of Perth, Australia was used to estimate the savings that could be achieved by water banking. Scenarios for investment in seawater desalination plants and groundwater replenishment were considered over a 20 year period of growing demand, using a Monte Carlo analysis that embedded the Markov model. An optimisation algorithm identified the minimum cost solutions that met specified criteria for supply reliability. The impact of depreciation of recharge credits was explored. The results revealed savings of more than A$1B (~US$1B) or 37% to 33% of supply augmentation costs by including water banking in aquifers for 95% and 99.5% reliability of supply respectively. When the hypothetically assumed recharge credit depreciation rate was increased from 1% p.a. to 10% p.a. savings were still 33% to 31% for the same reliabilities. These preliminary results show that water banking in aquifers has potential to offer a highly attractive solution for efficiently increasing the security of urban water supplies where aquifers are suitable.
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