Abstract

Economic growth in Central Arizona, as in other semiarid systems characterized by low and variable rainfall, has historically depended on the effectiveness of strategies to manage water supply risks. Traditionally, the management of supply risks includes three elements: hard infrastructures, landscape management within the watershed, and a supporting set of institutions of which water markets are frequently the most important. In this paper we model the interactions between these elements. A forest restoration initiative in Central Arizona (the Four Forest Restoration Initiative, or 4FRI) will result in thinning of ponderosa pine forests in the upper watershed, with potential implications for both sedimentation rates and water delivery to reservoirs. Specifically, we model the net effect of ponderosa pine forest thinning across the Salt and Verde River watersheds on the reliability and cost of water supply to the Phoenix metropolitan area. We conclude that the sediment impacts of forest thinning (up to 50% of canopy cover) are unlikely to compromise the reliability of the reservoir system while thinning has the potential to increase annual water supply by 8%. This represents an estimated net present value of surface water storage of $104 million, considering both water consumption and hydropower generation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere0121596
JournalPLoS One
Volume10
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 2 2015

Fingerprint

forest thinning
Water Supply
Watersheds
Water supply
water supply
forest restoration
Pinus ponderosa
thinning (plants)
Restoration
coniferous forests
Water
water power
landscape management
water
economic development
Surface waters
Sedimentation
infrastructure
Rain
surface water

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Medicine(all)

Cite this

The impact of forest thinning on the reliability of water supply in Central Arizona. / Simonit, Silvio; Connors, John P.; Yoo, James; Kinzig, Ann; Perrings, Charles.

In: PLoS One, Vol. 10, No. 4, e0121596, 02.04.2015.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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