Multi-model and multi-scenario assessments of Asian water futures: The Water Futures and Solutions (WFaS) initiative
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionEarth's Future. 2017, 5 (7), 823-852. 10.1002/2016EF000503
This paper presents one of the first quantitative scenario assessments for future water sup- ply and demand in Asia to 2050. The assessment, developed by the Water Futures and Solutions (WFaS) initiative, uses the latest set of global climate change and socioeconomic scenarios and state-of-the-art global hydrological models. In Asia, water demand for irrigation, industry, and households is projected to increase substantially in the coming decades (30–40% by 2050 compared to 2010). These changes are expected to exacerbate water stress, especially in the current hotspots such as north India and Pakistan, and north China. By 2050, 20% of the land area in the Asia-Pacific region, with a population of 1.6–2 bil- lion, is projected to experience severe water stress. We find that socioeconomic changes are the main drivers of worsening water scarcity in Asia, with climate change impacts further increasing the challenge into the 21st century. Moreover, a detailed basin-level analysis of the hydro-economic conditions of 40 Asian basins shows that although the coping capacity of all basins is expected to improve due to gross domestic product (GDP) growth, some basins continuously face severe water challenges. These basins will potentially be home to up to 1.6 billion people by mid-21st century.