From: University of Massachusetts Amherst
Published March 29, 2017 08:47 AM

It's Not Too Late to Conserve Water Resources in Rapidly Urbanizing Areas of Eastern Massachusetts

As climate change and population pressure both intensify in suburban areas northwest of Boston in th­e coming decades, a new study bywatershed scientist Timothy Randhir of the University of Massachusetts Amherstsuggests that threats to the area’s watershed such as water shortages and poor quality can be met if managers begin to act now.

Randhir and his graduate student Ammara Talib took multiple ecohydrologic variables into accountin their study of the north-flowing Sudbury, Assabet and Concord Rivers, modeling the watershed’s vulnerability in various predicted land use and climate change scenarios. The so-called “SuAsCo” river system is located about 30 miles northwest of Boston in eastern Worcester and western Middlesex counties. Details of the investigation appear in the current issue of Journal of Water and Climate.  

 As Randhir explains, “This is one of many suburbanizing watersheds that faces intense land development pressure in the next few decades, so it’s a good place to study the impacts of current, changing and future land use plus climate change. A lot of studies in hydrology climate science focus on climate, but very few combine the two, land use and its synergy with climate change. We modeled how this watershed is going to look in the next 90 years, up to 2100, taking both into account.”


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