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'The water balance of the urban Salt Lake Valley: a multiple-box model validated by observations'
Carolyn Stwertka (carolyn.stwertka@gmail.com), University of Utah; Courtenay Strong (court.strong@utah.edu), University of Utah

A main focus of the recently awarded National Science Foundation (NSF) EPSCoR Track-1 research project 'innovative Urban Transitions and Arid-region Hydro-sustainability (iUTAH)' is to quantify the primary components of the water balance for the Wasatch region, and to evaluate their sensitivity to climate change and projected urban development. Building on the multiple-box model that we developed and validated for carbon dioxide (Strong et al 2011), mass balance equations for water in the atmosphere and surface are incorporated into the modeling framework. The model is used to determine how surface fluxes, ground-water transport, biological fluxes, and meteorological processes regulate water cycling within and around the urban Salt Lake Valley. The model is used to evaluate the hypotheses that increased water demand associated with urban growth in Salt Lake Valley will (1) elevate sensitivity to projected climate variability and (2) motivate more attentive management of urban water use and evaporative fluxes.