Projection of water resources availability in relation to future requirements of the Houston Gulf Coast area.




Cechova, I.M.

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University of Texas, Health Science Center


An evaluation of freshwater resource potentials and supply development in relation to prospective growth of water needs in the Houston area constitutes the scope of this study. Attention was focused on problems of an appropriate methodological approach to such analysis, anticipating that it may be of general interest. It is emphasized that the hydrologic cycle, being an important component of dynamic man-environment interrelationships is, itself, a dynamic system and needs to be regarded in proper dimensions of time and space. The projections of water requirements were re-evaluated in light of most recent population projections. In evaluation of traditional area supplies -- groundwater resources-- consideration was given to the magnitude of environmental damage, resulting from injudicious practices of water withdrawal. The amount of water which will be needed in excess of safe groundwater production rate was projected. The main part of the study was the evaluation of surface water potential. The principles of modern mathematical-statistical time and space series analysis -- The Tukey-Blackman theory of spectrum estimation -- were adopted as central principles in analyzing temporal and spatial variability of precipitation and runoff phenomena and their interrelationships. A set of related techniques (auto-and cross-correlation, power- and cross-spectrum analysis, filtering and others) was organized into a single scheme with a step sequence which appears to be most suitable for water resources analysis. An effort was made to clarify some debatable points related to interpretation of spectra. An alternative scheme, incorporating replicate harmonic regression with variance analysis (Bliss' procedure) and some of its extensions was demonstrated. Substantial modification and extension of three BMD computer programs was done for data processing. SYMAP data displays were used in trend-surface analysis of hydrologic variations. Analysis showed that development of surface water supplies is a most imperative necessity. Stress is placed, though, on the large variability and the limitations of surface water resources. The limits of feasibility in development of regional conventional freshwater resources will probably be reached shortly after the end of this century. Furthermore, the provision of new supplies and the change toward greater use of surface water does not proceed promptly enough compared to growth in demand; with the first prolonged drought such a lag may become critical. Analysis of the pattern of sequence in hydrological events suggests that profuse drought within the seventies may well be anticipated. It is shown that the Houston area is not adequately prepared to cope with such a possibility. While finding a solution is beyond the scope of this study, some suggestions are offered for consideration in the planning of a future course of action.


324 p., Dissertation


water resources, water use, water management, ground water, freshwater lakes, resource conservation