Abstract for: A Simulation Framework for Integrated Water and Energy Resource Planning

Affordable electricity and accessible, clean water are fundamental to economic production and human livelihood. In the United States, groundwater aquifers are being drained for agricultural production, electricity generation suffers unplanned shutdowns during extreme droughts, and questions surrounding hydraulic fracturing of natural gas are causing many to doubt the future of their water supplies. In this paper, I suggest that improved water and energy planning can help avoid these negative outcomes. I pose that energy and water planning are not integrated enough, and give examples why. Furthermore, I propose a more integrated process that combines the best of current planning approaches and discuss how it would be structured, with an eye always to managing complexity. I introduce the Water and Energy Simulation Toolset (WEST), which is a collection of system dynamics modeling objects that I developed to aid decisions within this more integrated planning process. I detail how WEST may improve integrated water and energy planning, and discuss how such an approach may be used in the western United States.