Applying a Coupled Hydrologic-Economic Modeling Framework: Evaluating Alternative Options for Reducing Impacts for Downstream Locations in Response to Upstream Development
Little, John C.
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Economic input-output and watershed models provide useful results, but these kinds of models do not use the same spatial units, which typically limits their integration. A modular hydrologic-economic modeling framework is designed to couple the Rectangular Choice-of-Technology (RCOT) model, a physically constrained, input-output (I-O) model, with the Hydrological Simulation Program-Fortran (HSPF). Integrating these two models can address questions relevant to both economists and hydrologists, beyond addressing only administrative or watershed concerns. This framework is utilized to evaluate alternative future development prospects within Fauquier County, northern Virginia, specifically residential build-up, and agricultural intensification in the upstream location of the local watershed. Scenarios are designed to evaluate the downstream impacts on watershed health caused by upstream development and changes made within the economic sectors in response to these impacts. In the first case, an alternative residential water technology is more efficient than the standard for ensuring adequate water supply downstream. For scenarios involving upstream agricultural intensification, a crop shift from grains to fruits and vegetables is the most efficient of the alternatives considered. This framework captures two-way feedback between watershed and economic systems that expands the types of questions one can address beyond those that can be analyzed using these models individually.