Water Resource Planning Study Factors Climate and Socio-Economic Uncertainty

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Climate Adaptation Platform Cauvery Basin India

A study by Ajay G. Bhave, Declan Conway, Suraje Dessai, and David A. Stainforth investigated how water resource planning can be done under deep uncertainty in the Cauvery River Basin, India.

Long-term planning of water resources can be quite problematic due to the uncertainty of regional climate change impacts and rapidly changing socio-economic conditions.

Researchers have applied the DMUU (Decision-making Under Certainty), a range of approaches that seek to address climate change adaptation challenges.

It includes robust decision-making, information-gap, decision theory, decision scaling, and dynamic adaptive pathways finding its basis in the principle that “assess-risk policy” is better than a “predict-then-act” approach under deep uncertainty conditions.

Specifically, the DMMU approach is used to investigate the climate adaptation options in the Cauvery River Basin in Karnataka (CRBK), India as it exemplified two sources of future uncertainties: regional climate change and the effects of rapid socio-economic development. 

The CRBK is the fourth largest river of the southern region which beings at 800 km from Western Gats, an easterly flowing river that runs across three southern Indian states.  

The researchers have developed an iterative multi-method approach combining stakeholder-based analysis through engagement (qualitative) and modelling-based analysis (qualitative) to guide water resource planning.

The study aims to transfer DMUU approach originating from developed economies to developing country contest to address the following research goals:

  1. To develop and apply an iterative methodology that combines expert judgement, stakeholder engagement and model-based water resources for DMUU.
  2. To assess how future climate and socio-economic development scenarios affect water resources in the CRBK.
  3. To examine to what extent the adaptation pathways can address local and basin-wide performance.

The study concludes that the deep uncertainty of future precipitation and demand for water in the CRBK is crucial to adaptation decision-making and infrastructure planning in the CRBK. 

Changes in both climatic and socio-economic factors strongly influence water resource performance. And the researchers found that the iterative approach to DMUU is valuable as it enabled analysis to suit the decision context and stakeholder requirements.

To read the entire study, please CLICK on the link below:

Source citation:

Bhave, Ajay & Conway, Declan & Dessai, Suraje & Stainforth, David. (2018). Water Resource Planning Under Future Climate and Socio-Economic Uncertainty in the Cauvery River Basin in Karnataka, India. Water Resources Research. 54. 10.1002/2017WR020970. Retrieved from https://agupubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/epdf/10.1002/2017WR020970

BACKGROUND PHOTO CREDIT: Central Water Commission, India; Kaveri

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