Integrated water resources management and modeling at multiple spatial scales

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Water shortages from intermittent public supplies are a major and expanding global problem. Yet individual users, utility managers, and government officials can improve access or cope with shortages in numerous ways. New supplies, more efficient use of existing resources, long-term investments to expand infrastructure and reduce leakage, and short-term measures to flexibly transfer, ration, or curtail some uses, represent several different approaches, timings, and spatial scales for management. Integrated systems analysis identifies management actions that minimize costs or maximize benefits across a variety of water shortage conditions. The systems analysis works as follows. First, identify a wide range of potential actions. Second, characterize each action by the financial costs, perceived costs, and effective water volume added or saved. Third, describe interdependencies when adopting multiple actions together. Fourth, list the shortage or water availability events and their likelihoods for which the system must adapt to deliver water. And fifth, use stochastic programming with recourse to identify the best mix of actions. Analytical error propagation, sensitivity analysis, Monte-Carlo simulations, robust and grey-number optimization explore implications of uncertainties on recommended actions. Systems analysis is applied separately at three spatial scales in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan—for individual residential users, the water system serving 2.2 million residents in the capital Amman, and the entire kingdom comprising Amman and 11 other governorates. Jordan is a top-ten water-poor country and has a continuing annual population growth of 2% to 3%. Results can help inform current and future shortage coping strategies. Foremost, model results identify a portfolio of actions to reduce shortage coping costs. However, results also establish a systematic approach to integrate source, quantity, reliability, quality, and conservation to estimate water demands; do so using disjoint empirical data sources; yield new insights to size, target, and market conservation actions to users; highlight limitations of a demand curve under block pricing; identify customer willingness-to-pay to improve access; show capital investments required to increase water availability; and show how to include water use efficiency at the regional scale. Together, the results identify complementary actions undertaken at multiple spatial scales in Jordan by individual users, utility managers, and government officials.


PhD Dissertation

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