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Climate change is escalating the frequency and intensity of extreme precipitation events, significantly influencing the spatial and temporal distributions of water resources. This is particularly evident in Texas, a rapidly growing state with a pronounced west-east gradient in water supply. This study utilizes Coupled Model Intercomparison Project Phase 6 (CMIP6) data and data-driven methodology to improve projections of Texas's future water resources, focusing on actual evapotranspiration (AET) and water availability through enhanced Multi-Model Ensembles. The results reveal that the data-driven model significantly outperforms the CMIP5 and CMIP6 models across all skill metrics, underscoring the potential of data-driven methodologies in advancing climate science. Furthermore, the study provides an in-depth analysis of the projected changes in net water availability (NWA) and estimated water demand for different regions in Texas over the next six decades from 2015 to 2074, which reveal fluctuating patterns of water stress, with the regions (nine out of sixteen water planning regions in Texas, especially for the most populated regions) poised for heightened challenges in reconciling water demand and availability. While increasing trends are found in precipitation, AET, and NWA for the northern region of Texas based on SSP2–4.5, decreasing trends are found over the southern region for all three parameters based on SSP5–8.5. These findings underscore the importance of factoring both spatial and temporal variations in water availability and demand for effective water management strategies and the need for adaptive water management strategies for the changing water availability scenarios.


NOTICE: this is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Science of The Total Environment. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Science of The Total Environment, volume 921, in 2024.

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Available for download on Sunday, February 22, 2026