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Aggregate water resources for large-scale energy development in the Upper Colorado River Basin

Isaacson, M. S. (1986) Aggregate water resources for large-scale energy development in the Upper Colorado River Basin. Energy, 11 (3). pp. 281-292. ISSN 0360-5442. doi:10.1016/0360-5442(86)90086-1.

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This paper addresses the question of whether or not a large (significant in national terms) energy recovery industry can be developed in the Upper Colorado River Basin (UCRB), alongside more traditional water use, without causing a problem in the aggregate quantity of water supplied to the Lower Colorado River Basin. On the demand side, aggregate water consumption in the UCRB due to water-intensive energy industry is predicted as a function of the level of energy production. Total UCRB water consumption can then be found by adding to the energy-related water use all nonenergy-related consumption. On the supply side, aggregate water availability is determined from the results of a steady-state, stochastic hydrologic model which predicts the reliability of flow to the lower basin as a function of total UCRB consumption. Demand and supply are then presented together in a graphical form which allows the reader to determine for himself the allowable level of energy development in the UCRB, depending on the levels he chooses for nonenergy-related water consumption in the upper basin and the reliability of water supply to the lower basin. As part of this project, reasonable estimates had to be determined for the unit water requirements of the various types of energy development industries. This was accomplished by means of a very extensive and careful survey of the open literature. Results of the survey for synthetic fuel processes were condensed and arranged into a series of novel, easy-to-follow information flow charts. These charts are a valuable aid in comparing unit-water-consumption values and determining their origins.

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Additional Information:© 1986 Pergamon Press Ltd. Received 8 April 1985; received for publication 2 July 1985. Available online 11 August 2003. This work was supported in part by funds from the United States Department of Energy, the Bechtel Corporation. the Exxon Education Foundation and the General Service Foundation. The author would like to thank Dr. Norman H. Brooks and Dr Robert C.-Y. Koh of Caltech's Environmental Quality Laboratory for their assistance.
Group:Environmental Quality Laboratory
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Department of Energy (DOE)UNSPECIFIED
Bechtel CorporationUNSPECIFIED
Exxon Education FoundationUNSPECIFIED
General Service FoundationUNSPECIFIED
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Other Numbering System NameOther Numbering System ID
Environmental Quality LaboratoryA-192
Issue or Number:3
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20140915-135559046
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Official Citation:M.S. Isaacson, Aggregate water resources for large-scale energy development in the Upper Colorado River Basin, Energy, Volume 11, Issue 3, March 1986, Pages 281-292, ISSN 0360-5442, (
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:49721
Deposited By: Ruth Sustaita
Deposited On:15 Sep 2014 21:20
Last Modified:10 Nov 2021 18:47

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