How Will Climate Change Affect Water Demand? Evidence from Hawai‘i Microclimates

RESEARCH PAPERS ARE PRELIMINARY MATERIALS CIRCULATED TO STIMULATE DISCUSSION AND CRITICAL COMMENT. THE VIEWS EXPRESSED ARE THOSE OF THE INDIVIDUAL AUTHORS.

The effect that climate change will have on water resource sustainability is gaining international interest, particularly in regions where stocks are strained due to changing climate and increasing populations. Past studies focus mainly on how water availability will be affected by climate change, with little attention paid to how consumer behavior is likely to react. How a changing climate affects water demand could be equally or more important to management solutions as its influence on water supply. In this paper, we analyze the relationship between residential water use and climate on the Hawaiian island of O‘ahu, and apply downscaled climate projections to estimate end-of-century water use.

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