Linking climate projections to performance: A yield-based decision scaling assessment of a large urban water resources system

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Turner, Sean; Marlow, David; Ekstrom, Marie; Rhodes, Bruce; Kularathna, Udaya; Jeffrey, Paul


2014-04-30


Journal Article


Water Resources Research


50


4


3553–3567


Despite a decade of research into climate change impacts on water resources, the scientific community has delivered relatively few practical methodological developments for integrating uncertainty into water resource system design. This paper presents an application of the ‘decision scaling’ methodology for assessing climate change impacts on water resource system performance and asks how such an approach might inform planning decisions. The decision scaling method reverses the conventional ethos of climate impact assessment by first establishing the climate conditions that would compel planners to intervene. Climate model projections are introduced at the end of the process to characterize climate risk in such a way that avoids the expensive process of propagating those projections through hydrological models. Here, we simulated 1000 multi-site synthetic streamflow traces in a model of the Melbourne bulk supply system to test the sensitivity of system performance to variations in streamflow statistics. A simple empirical relation was derived to convert decision-critical flow statistics to climatic units, against which 138 alternative climate projections were plotted and compared (23 global climate model runs under six emissions scenarios). In a departure from previous executions of this method, we defined the decision threshold in terms of a system yield metric constrained by multiple performance criteria. Our approach allows for fast and simple incorporation of demand forecast uncertainty and demonstrates the reach of the decision scaling method through successful execution in a large and complex resource system. Advantages and limitations of the approach are identified and discussed.


Wiley-Blackwell


Water Resources Engineering


https://doi.org/10.1002/2013WR015156


Link to Publisher's Version


© 2014. American Geophysical Union. All Rights Reserved.


EP1312755


Journal article - Refereed


English


Turner, Sean; Marlow, David; Ekstrom, Marie; Rhodes, Bruce; Kularathna, Udaya; Jeffrey, Paul. Linking climate projections to performance: A yield-based decision scaling assessment of a large urban water resources system. Water Resources Research. 2014; 50(4):3553–3567. https://doi.org/10.1002/2013WR015156



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