Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Biological Engineering (MS)

Degree Level



Biological and Agricultural Engineering


Marty Matlock

Committee Member

Greg Thoma

Second Committee Member

Benjamin Runkle

Third Committee Member

Kieu Le


risk assessment, climate change, water management, ecosystem preservation, precipitation patterns, surface water availability, prediction, ecohydrological model, modeling methodology


Climate change affects water resources differently across geospatial regions in the United States (U.S). There is a concern of how water availability will be affected by changes in long-term temperature and precipitation patterns, specifically in major production regions for eight fruit and vegetable crops. The effects on surface water available for irrigation use and supply stress in five regions containing 31 Agricultural Statistics Districts (ASDs) were assessed. The Water Supply Stress Index Model was used and modified to project water available for irrigation use across nine climate scenarios driven by historical data, five General Circulation Models, two population scenarios, and two Representative Concentration Pathways. Through the incorporation of Hydrologic Unit Code 8 subbasin boundaries (HUC8), and ASDs, a new border was defined from the HUC8 borders which allowed water availability in the ASDs and regions to be quantified through hydrologic boundaries and flow characteristics between HUC8s. Projected surface water available for irrigation use increased at the annual time step from 2040-2070 across ASDs in the Pacific West for two moderate warming scenarios. Two high warming scenarios projected decreased water availability in the Pacific West. The results all showed decreased projected surface water available for irrigation use in the Midwest and Southeast. Across all climate scenarios in the Midwest, Southeast, and Northeast, average watershed surface water supply stress induced by irrigation is projected to increase. The Plains and Pacific West showed decreased supply stress in certain scenarios, but this does not tell us how the watersheds will be affected during growing seasons. Past research shows that in areas of the Western U.S., precipitation will increase annually due to climate change. Overall, the results showed that water availability would decrease in the selected regions across climate change scenarios, but more work is needed to understand how the specific fruit and vegetable crops will be affected.