Water planners face the challenge of ensuring reliable water supply for people and the environment. Long-term changes and short-term variability in both the natural and social environments create large uncertainty in future water supply and demand. This makes it difficult to know when and how to adapt water systems through operational changes, policy, and infrastructure development. Adaptive planning approaches, in which planners defer action and respond as the system changes over time, have the potential to enable robustness to an uncertain future without unnecessary infrastructure development or policy changes. However, adaptive approaches may prevent planners from leveraging economies of scale, can pose a risk to reliability, and may require greater institutional capacity. In this talk, I will evaluate adaptive planning approaches under different hydrological, technical, and social conditions and discuss their implications for water reliability, cost, and equity. I will discuss case studies from drought planning in Melbourne, Australia; groundwater management in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia; and climate change adaptation in Mombasa, Kenya.
Fletcher, Sarah, "Adaptive Water Infrastructure Planning for a Changing World" (2020). All ECSTATIC Materials. Paper 91.