14 March 2018

2016 YSSPer Lu Liu

Lu Liu recently first-authored a paper published in Environmental Research Letters studying the potential of large-scale reservoirs to provide reliable surface water yields while also considering environmental flows within 235 of the world’s largest river basins. 

2016 YSSPer Lu Liu

2016 YSSPer Lu Liu

Lu Liu is currently a postdoctoral research associate in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Rice University in the USA. She recently first-authored: "Quantifying the potential for reservoirs to secure future surface water yields in the world's largest river basins." Below she describes below the importance of this work and the impact IIASA had.

“Reservoirs provide us with water supply, hydropower, flood control and many benefits. But they also cause displacement of existing land-use and may deteriorate local ecosystems. As population growth, a commensurate intensified economic development, couple with climate change continue to prevail in many part of the world, it is critical to assess the potential for future reservoir capacity to help balance rising water demands with long-term water availability. We found that even when maximizing the global reservoir storage to its potential limit (~4.3-4.8 times the current capacity), reliable water supply would only increase by about 50% over current levels. However, there exist large disparities across different regions of the world. A small portion of the world’s largest rivers already have an installed storage capacity that puts river’s ability to provide environmental services at risks. Building more reservoir capacities is not the mere solution to increasing water scarcity. What this study entails is that it is critical to consider the trade-offs between socioeconomic progress and sustainable development. This study provides an assessment of where policies and infrastructure investments are needed to sustain and improve global water security.”

“Several scientists in the Energy Program came up with this research idea and had invested some effort prior to my participation as YSSPer. I came on board with some foundational work and constructive research plan already in place, so it really helped me kick-start the project and accelerated my research progress during the three months. As required by the YSSP, we submitted a report as a summary of the three-month work at IIASA. But we didn’t stop there. We thought the work deserves more readership than an internal report, so we took a step further and submitted the work to a peer-reviewed journal. After about a year of revising and peer reviewing process, this work has been ameliorated and finally published as an article on Environmental Research Letters. At IIASA, I had the privilege to work and collaborate with many talented people across various disciplines. I was taught how to take proactive and effective roles in scientific research. My time spent at IIASA played a significant role in positioning my PhD dissertation and fostering my career motives towards academia. The friendship and professional relationships built during that time will continue to influence me positively in the foreseeable future."

About Lu Liu

Lu participated in the 2016 YSSP in the IIASA Energy Program as a recipient of the YSSP Fund. She received her PhD in Water Resources Engineering from University of Maryland, USA, in 2017. She is currently a postdoctoral research associate in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Rice University in the USA. Her overall research goal is to better characterize the interconnections between water, energy and climate systems, as well as the critical interactions and tradeoffs responsible for the interconnections, by applying a holistic integrated approach that relies on state-of-the-art modeling tools and comprehensive data analysis.

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Last edited: 21 March 2018


Monika Bauer

IIASA Network and Alumni Officer

Communications and External Relations Department

T +43(0) 2236 807 223

Recent Publication

Quantifying the potential for reservoirs to secure future surface water yields in the world's largest river basins


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Mohd Idris, M.N., Hashim, H., Leduc, S., Yowargana, P., Kraxner, F., & Woon, K.S. (2021). Deploying Bioenergy for Decarbonizing Malaysian Energy Sectors and Alleviating Renewable Energy Poverty. Energy 232, e120967. 10.1016/j.energy.2021.120967.

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