Addressing Climate Change Uncertainty in Utility Infrastructure Management

Description:Despite continued research and modeling, knowledge of future infrastructure requirements resulting from climate change will always be incomplete. Many high-cost, long-term planning decisions need to be made in the short term despite uncertainties about future supply, demand, and other long-range parameters that significantly affect the value and asset lives of these investments. Utility managers are easily overwhelmed by uncertainties and face a dilemma to charge ahead blindly or be paralyzed by indecision. Fortunately, there are pragmatic ways of addressing the challenges associated with climate change, and many of these entail some form of adaptive management strategies. The Water Research Foundation project 4380 - Addressing Climate Change by Applying Adaptive Management Techniques to Infrastructure Management addressed these challenges by investigating the principles of adaptive management and applying them to water infrastructure management. Our presentation will report on project 4380 by discussing how the general concepts of adaptive management can result in specific and actionable directions for water utilities. We will present a standard working definition for adaptive management and case study interviews with American Water, the City of Phoenix Water Services Department, Metro Vancouver, the New York City Department of Environmental Protection, and United Utilities Water. Further, we will explore how adaptive management may be particularly valuable for planning, refining, and improving water system infrastructure under climate change and other concerns. Our presentation will end by discussing how adaptive management supports utilities' ability to manage risk, and make recommendations where the multi-stage adaptive management process could support future action and decision-making.

Authors: Conrad, Steve

Subjects: Asset Management, Energy and Climate Change

Tags:ac2012

Citation:2012 BCWWA Annual Conference, Session 15, Penticton

Publication Date:Jul 1st, 2012 Upload Date:Jul 1st, 2012

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