Affiliation: Gillings School of Global Public Health, Department of Environmental Sciences and Engineering
In the Eastern U.S. intermittent transfers of treated water are common tool for drought management, but untreated “raw” water transfers are rare. Nonetheless, raw water transfers, free of physical and financial constraints of treating and piping water, show promise within an Eastern regulatory context and could aid in meeting future demands and delaying or avoiding expensive infrastructure. This work develops a detailed simulation model to investigate several raw water transfer schemes along a common river course, exploring tradeoffs between reliability and financial objectives in a multi-utility framework. Applied within the Research Triangle of North Carolina, modeling will inform management solutions for an Eastern U.S. region at risk of future water shortages. Raw water transfer schemes are observed to substantially improve supply reliability and reduce demand management interventions, cut inter-basin transfers by up to 90%, and reduce financial risk and long-term debt through decreased dependence on infrastructure and increased planning flexibility.