Abstract for: Quantitative Evaluation of the Performance of Water Management System in the Washington Metropolitan Area

The water management system for the Washington Metropolitan Area (WMA), like many other public utilities, is reaching its maximum service potential in the face of this rapid growth and climate change. Frequent droughts have not only prompted pricy withdrawals from reserve water supplies more than once, fall of 2010 being the latest case of such water releases, but also have generated varied responses from different local governments that make up the WMA, reflecting lack of cooperation. This also reflects that WMA water supply system is not adequate enough to meet daily demand using only Potomac, Patuxent and Occoquan resources. Prior information about time and volume of releases will not only help in the efficient allocation of water but it will also help in well-informed decision making. Therefore, this paper does the following: 1) Model the demand and supply dynamics for the WMA; 2) Analyze the impact of historical droughts on water availability; and 3) Assesses the performance of the system under various demand scenarios and drought conditions. Finally, the paper concludes that WMA water supply system is susceptible to shortages in future and performance of the system is expected to deteriorate in the coming years with recurrence of historical droughts.