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Sustainability of basin level development under a changing climate


The potential impacts of projected future climate change scenarios on the hydrologic response of a water-stressed Mediterranean river basin (Upper Litani River Basin in Lebanon) are quantified and assessed using the Water Evaluation and Planning (WEAP) model. Projected basin-level changes in water availability are then compared to multi-sector demands estimated under six basin-level development scenarios. The sustainability under these scenarios and the resilience of the system in the face of the projected climatic changes are then assessed in terms of a water resources index, demand reliability, demand satisfaction index, demand reliability index and the average duration of failure. The results reveal that the basin is expected to experience significant alteration in its hydrologic cycle and that current plans envisioning an increase in irrigated areas within the basin, is non-sustainable and will lead to a highly water stressed system. A conservative basin-level plan that integrates both supply- and demand-side measures is proposed in an effort to achieve a more sustainable system.

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