Data Modeling & Analysis 2019-02-20T21:20:03+00:00

Data Modeling & Analysis

The sustainable delivery of resources, including fresh water, energy (fossil fuel, solar, geothermal, wind) and food is the foundation for stable and secure social, economic and political systems around the world. Maintaining resource availability on a local, regional, and global scale is challenged by an uncertain and changing climate, growing populations, and an expanding economy.

Researchers at Sandia National Laboratories address these issues in various combinations in applied science and research projects around the United States and the world. These projects are aimed to manage the interdependent development of water, energy and food systems within sustainable ecological boundaries.

Knowledge and data on water, energy, and food systems are multi-sectoral and multi-disciplinary. Collaboration with many experts across many fields is crucial for a full-systems understanding of interactions, interdependencies, feedbacks, and long-term consequences of remediation or management approaches. Collaboration enables transparency and cross-disciplinary dialogue. Stakeholder-driven projects give ownership to, and enable buy-in from, the stakeholders. Management actions emerge from the bottom up.

Portal to access, visualize and interact with water availability, cost and projected future use data.

Integration of a water supply constraint into the long-term transmission planning of the Eastern, Western and Texas Interconnections.

An integrated assessment software tool developed to calculate the potential performance, location, and cost characteristics with a national CO2 storage program utilizing geologic saline formations.

An analysis of the energy-water nexus for the twenty-one Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) member economies.

Developing tools to optimize the U.S. hydropower fleet’s power and environmental performance.

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has funded Sandia National Laboratories to develop a decision support tool that aids BLM’s role of sustainably managing water resources in Southeast New Mexico in light of increasing water demand for oil and gas extraction.

Improving predictive understanding of climate change impacts, adaptation, and vulnerability (IAV) modeling.

Models to support collaborative planning and management exercises on the Rio Grande.

Water Availability, Cost, and Use Data

Water availability, cost, and projected growth were mapped for the 48-conterminous United States. Specifically, water availability was mapped according to five unique sources including unappropriated surface water, unappropriated groundwater, appropriated surface/groundwater, municipal wastewater, and brackish groundwater. Associated costs to acquire, convey and treat the water, as necessary, for each of the five sources were also estimated. To complete the picture, competing uses for the available water supply were projected over the next 20 years. The data can be accessed in two different ways:

Papers and reports detailing data sources and calculations can be found by clicking here and here.

These metrics were developed to support regional water planning and policy analysis by providing a consistent and comparable measure of the relative difficulty and expense to develop a water resource in a given basin. There are two important limitations concerning how these data should be interpreted. First, these basin scale estimates of water availability and cost are of insufficient detail to support siting decisions at the local scale (specific water development project at a specific location). Second, these data cannot be interpreted as an absolute measure of whether sufficient water is available to meet projected growth in water use. Although developed with the help of state water managers, these availability and cost values in no way guarantee the availability or cost of water at any particular point within a watershed. These values simply provide a relative measure of where water is more likely available and at what cost relative to other sources.

The data contained herein is provided without any warranty of any kind, either express or implied, including warranties of merchantability and fitness for a particular purpose.  Any use of this data is at your own risk.  Neither Sandia nor its partners shall be held liable for damages of any kind arising out of the use of any data published herein, including but not limited to incidental, consequential, or special damages. Users are prohibited from any commercial, non-free resale, or redistribution without explicit written permission from Sandia or the data-developing institutions. Any use of data in the creation of any reports, publications, new data sets, derived products, or services requires attribution to the data source.

Water Availability, Cost, and Use Data Download

Please complete the form below to download data.

Availability, cost, and projected growth data are provided as Excel formatted databases for download. Data are organized into two different databases:

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Eastern, Western, & Texas Interconnects Data

The Department of Energy’s Office of Electricity has a continuing program to support long-range transmission planning within the Western, Eastern, and Texas Interconnections. This project supports such efforts through the integration of water related issues in the planning process. Beyond Sandia National Laboratories this effort is supported by Argonne National Laboratory, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.

Projected change in thermoelectric water consumption by watershed in the WECC region for five different future scenarios.

Two examples of planning support are:

  • Water as a Constraint on Transmission Planning: Consideration of water supply in transmission expansion planning (TEP) provides a valuable means of managing impacts of thermoelectric generation on limited water resources. Toward this opportunity, thermoelectric water intensity factors and water supply availability (fresh and non-fresh sources) were incorporated into a recent TEP exercise conducted for the electric interconnection in the Western United States. The goal was to inform the placement of new thermoelectric generation so as to minimize issues related to water availability. Access the paper here.

Electricity use by water service sector and county. Shown are electricity use by a) large-scale conveyance, b) groundwater irrigation pumping, c) surface water irrigation pumping, d) drinking water, and e) wastewater. Aggregate electricity use across these sectors (f) is also mapped.

  • Electricity Use for Water Services: A significant fraction of our nation’s electricity use goes to lift, convey and treat water, while the resulting expenditures on electricity represent a key budgetary consideration for water service providers. To improve understanding of the electricity-for-water interdependency, electricity used in providing water services is mapped at the regional, state and county level for the 17-conterminous states in the Western U.S. This study is unique in estimating electricity use for large-scale conveyance and agricultural pumping, as well as mapping these electricity uses along with that for drinking and wastewater services at a state and county level. Access the paper here.
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Water, Energy, and Carbon Sequestration Model (WECSsim)

The Water, Energy and Carbon Sequestration Model (WECSsim) is an integrated assessment software tool developed to calculate the potential performance, location and cost characteristics with a national CO2 storage program utilizing geologic saline formations. Users can run power-plant specific scenarios to capture and store CO2 emissions while incorporating the additional value of extracting, treating and utilizing the saline waters.

WECSsim Model Request

Please input the information below to download the Water, Energy and Carbon Sequestration Model (WECSsim) software.

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Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Energy-Water Nexus Maps

energy-water_nexus-1In 2010, global water withdrawals for energy production were estimated to be 583 billion cubic meters (Bm3) representing 15% of the world’s total withdrawals, of which 66 Bm3 were consumed (IEA 2012). The water sector was likewise thirsty for energy as 8% of energy consumption was used to lift, treat, and move water (WWAP 2014). Growing populations and economies threaten to intensify the energy-water nexus. By 2035, water withdrawals could increase by 20% and consumption by 85%, driven by a shift towards higher efficiency power plants with more advanced cooling systems (that reduce water withdrawals but increase consumption) and increased production of biofuel (IEA 2012). Given that 1.2 billion people currently live in areas with physical scarcity of water (UNDP 2007), there is an increasing risk of conflict between power generation, other water users and environmental considerations. Similarly, the demand for electricity by the water sector is increasing given the expanding utilization of non-traditional water sources and the move to service the world’s 2.5 billion people who lack access to water sanitation and the 748 million that lack access to safe drinking water (WHO 2014).

apecIn light of this, the energy-water nexus was been mapped for almost 12,000 watersheds distributed across the 21-economies comprising the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation. Water consumption for energy production was estimated for 9 different sectors including thermoelectric and hydroelectric power; energy extraction including coal, oil, natural gas, uranium and unconventional oil/gas; and, energy processing including oil and biofuels. Conversely, the energy consumed providing water services was mapped for three sectors, drinking water, wastewater, and seawater desalination. These measures of resource use were put in context by drawing comparisons with published measures of water risk. The objective of the mapping was to quantify the energy-water nexus and its variability at the subnational level, pinpoint potential vulnerabilities, and identify opportunities for international collaboration.

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Developing tools to optimize the U.S. hydropower fleet’s power and environmental performance.

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Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Decision Support Tool

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has funded Sandia National Laboratories to develop a decision support tool that aids BLM’s role of sustainably managing water resources in Southeast New Mexico in light of increasing water demand for oil and gas extraction.

Advancements in directional drilling and well completion technologies have resulted in an exponential growth in the use of hydraulic fracturing for oil and gas extraction. Within the Bone Springs Formation of the New Mexico Permian Basin, which is the dominant play in the region, water demand to complete each hydraulically fractured well is estimated to average 7.3 acre-feet (2.4 million gallons), resulting in an increase to the regional water demand of over 5000 acre-feet per year. This has created concern as to the region’s ability to meet the increased water demand in a manner that fulfills BLM’s role of protecting human health and the environment while sustainably meeting the needs of the variety of water users and other stakeholders in the region.

The scientific challenge is bringing together disparate data in a manner that exposes the temporal and spatial dynamics of the water supply sources in the context of increasing demands and changing policy and management scenarios. To meet this challenge, this project uses a multi-disciplinary approach that synthesizes data collection, field verification, and system dynamics modeling to identify risks to water sustainability and develop alternatives to mitigate those risks. Field verification and testing activities are used to evaluate existing borehole data to insure that the data are accurate and up to date. Water samples are taken to characterize the source water quality and chemistry and are used with other data in the region to develop correlations between depth to water, water chemistry, and source formation.

The data are summarized into a conceptual model that describes the inflows, outflows, and storage mechanisms of the region’s water resources. Conceptual models provide users with a visual map of the dynamic relationships between the various water sources, the primary uses of the water from each source, and how each source may be exploited to support hydraulic fracturing. The conceptual model is the framework from which mathematical representations of the dynamics are ‘hung’ and the system dynamics (SD) decision support model is built. The SD model simulates the increase in drilling activity and water demand relative to each formation and water source to identify the areas/users/formations that are most vulnerable and estimates the risk to water sustainability. The model also performs cost/benefit analyses for each management and future demand scenario.

The project is scheduled for completion in December, 2017.

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Multi-Sector Multi-Scale Modeling (SFA)

The long-term goals of this scientific focus area (SFA) are to develop a flexible and extensible modeling framework that captures the dynamic multi-scale interactions among climate, energy, water, land, socioeconomics, critical infrastructure, and other sectors and to use this framework to study the vulnerability and resilience of coupled human and natural systems from local to continental scales under scenarios that include short-term shocks, long-term stresses, and feedbacks associated with human decision-making. It will also explore how different model configurations, levels of complexity, multi-model coupling strategies, and spatial and temporal resolutions influence simulation fidelity and the propagation of uncertainties. The first three years of the SFA will focus on systematically building the foundational scientific understanding and computational tools needed to develop and deploy an integrated multi-sector, multi-scale modeling framework, with an emphasis on the climate-energy-water-land nexus. Major research thrust areas include population dynamics, land use and land cover change, and a “deep dive” into energy-water interactions in the western United States. Our approach emphasizes leveraging existing efforts and emerging capabilities, systematically increasing complexity, and engaging with a range of communities to help establish this SFA as a long-term home for cutting-edge climate impact, adaptation, and vulnerability research. Ultimately, our goal is to dramatically improve scientific understanding of how the complex coupled human-Earth system responds to different stresses, which will in turn inform decision-making across a range of sectors and scales.

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Rio Grande Water Operation Models

The Upper Rio Grande Water Operation Model (URGWOM) is a suite of tools developed cooperatively by water management agencies in New Mexico to better understand, predict, plan, and account for surface water movement through the Rio Grande system in New Mexico.  Included in this suite of tools are several daily timestep RiverWare models used to develop annual operating plans, track and account for water use by water type, and perform 10-year planning analysis.  However, the computational burden of the daily timestep models makes it difficult to evaluate a large range of potential scenarios or management options, or perform long term planning analysis.  In addition, the surface water system is impacted directly by the groundwater system, and both are affected by human demands.  Simulation of the connections between these systems is not comprehensive in the daily timestep surface water operations models.

A tool is needed to screen over a broad range of alternatives to identify leading candidates for further analysis with the daily timestep URGWOM tools, and include the long term interactions and feedbacks between the surface water, groundwater, and human demand systems for planning purposes.  URGSiM is a monthly timestep decision support simulation tool built in Powersim Studio.  URGSiM is based on surface water dynamics and reservoir operations from the URGWOM daily timestep models, groundwater dynamics based on three regional groundwater flow models, atmospheric demand based on the USBoR’s ETToolbox, and human demand based on historic water use and population growth trends modifiable by the model user.  The model has an easy-to-use graphic user interface, and runs 40-year scenarios in tens of seconds.  It has been used to screen 1000 different 100-year climate scenarios based on 400 years of tree ring data to choose three 10-year sequences for further analysis with the daily timestep URGWOM planning model.  Development in conjunction with the URGWOM technical team is ongoing.

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