RAND researchers and collaborators present a comprehensive approach for water utilities to assess climate risks to their systems and evaluate adaptation strategies. The approach, based on Robust Decision Making, is demonstrated through pilot studies with two water utilities: Colorado Springs Utilities and New York City Department of Environmental Protection.
Publications on Water Resources Management and Planning
EEED conducts extensive research on the topic of water resources management and planning. This page provides a complete, chronological list of our publications. To learn more about our research, please visit our Water Resources Management and Planning program area.
Adapting to a Changing Colorado River: Making Future Water Deliveries More Reliable Through Robust Management Strategies2013
The 2012 Colorado River Basin Study evaluated the resiliency of the Colorado River system over the next 50 years to climate change and other factors, and then compared different options and strategies for ensuring successful management of the river's resources. This report describes RAND's contribution to this study. It focuses on the Robust Decision Making methodologies used to identify vulnerabilities and compare portfolios of options.
Addressing Climate Change in Local Water Agency Plans: Demonstrating a Simplified Robust Decision Making Approach in the California Sierra Foothills2013
This report describes an approach for planning under deep uncertainty, Robust Decision Making (RDM), and demonstrates its use by the El Dorado Irrigation District (EID). Using RDM, the authors and EID tested the robustness of current long-term water management plans and more robust alternatives across more than 50 futures reflecting different assumptions about future climate, urban growth, and the availability of important new supplies.
Robust Water-Management Strategies for the California Water Plan Update 2013: Proof-of-Concept Analysis2013
This report describes a proof-of-concept analysis using Robust Decision Making to evaluate water resource management response packages for California's Central Valley under future uncertainty. This analytic approach will be used to develop a more comprehensive analysis for the California Water Plan Update 2013.
Recommended Research Priorities for the Qatar Foundation's Environment and Energy Research Institute2011
The Qatar Foundation is establishing a national research institute to conduct and collaborate on applied research in energy, environment, and water issues, the Qatar Environment and Energy Research Institute. This book recommends research priorities for the new institution and reports on a survey of relevant research institutions in the region.
Examines 20th Century hydrology in the Uinta Mountains region in the context of previous centuries as well as possible relationships with Pacific and Atlantic Ocean variability using new tree-ring based reconstructions for streamflow and snowpack.
Developing and Applying Uncertain Global Climate Change Projections for Regional Water Management Planning2008
Climate change may impact water resources management conditions in difficult-to-predict ways. A key challenge for water managers is how to incorporate highly uncertain information about potential climate change from global models into local- and regional-scale water management models and tools to support local planning.
This report presents an economic framework for estimating a water agency’s avoided costs and environmental benefits of increasing water-use efficiency. The report demonstrates this framework by evaluating the benefits of Denver Water’s efficiency programs and utilizes an exploratory modeling approach to accommodate significant uncertainty. The analysis highlights the importance of considering both long- and short-run costs and benefits.
Preparing for an Uncertain Future Climate in the Inland Empire: Identifying Robust Water-Management Strategies2008
As part of a multiyear study on climate-change decisionmaking under uncertainty, RAND researchers are helping water agencies in California better understand how climate change might affect their systems and what actions they may need to take to address this challenge. This briefing presents an analysis of how different adaptive water-management strategies may reduce the region’s vulnerability to climate change and other planning uncertainties.
Presenting Uncertainty About Climate Change to Water-Resource Managers: A Summary of Workshops with the Inland Empire Utilities Agency2008
As part of a multiyear study on climate-change decisionmaking under uncertainty, RAND researchers are working with water agencies in California to help them better understand how climate change might affect their systems and what actions they may need to take to address this challenge. This report documents the methods and observations used to preserve an archive of the study and provide a basis for refining the approach for future applications.
This report presents an analytical framework and a spreadsheet-based tool to help commercial building owners select water-efficiency investments. It considers costs typically incurred when improving efficiency and includes many tangible financial benefits. The report examines a specific building with two configurations of devices. The case with pre-1992 fixtures benefited from upgrading to 1992 standards and replacing urinals with non-water-using designs; the case with newer fixtures did best to do the latter alone.
Description of a new analytic method, based on robust decisionmaking, that could be applied to water resource management in California and climate change policy questions.
From Flood Control to Integrated Water Resource Management: Lessons for the Gulf Coast from Flooding in Other Places in the Last Sixty Years2006
The loss of life and devastation in the Gulf coast region of the United States after the hurricane season of 2005 has led to considerable debate about how to recover from the damage and mitigate damage from future incidents. This document reports the experiences of four major floods since 1948 (two in the United States, one in the Netherlands, and one in China), to draw lessons for the Gulf coast restoration effort.
Improving Contracting at the City of Los Angeles Airports, Port, and Department of Water and Power2005
The Los Angeles World Airports, the Port of Los Angeles, and the Department of Water and Power together contract for more than a billion dollars worth of goods and services annually. In 2003 and 2004, the City of Los Angeles Controller issued audit reports on the contracting and leasing practices of the three departments, citing a lack of both transparency and documentation. This documented briefing presents analysis from a 90-day study to find ways to make these activities of three departments more transparent and efficient while gaining the public trust.
Building a New Vision for the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California: Options for Key Policy Decisions1998
Drawing on over 100 interviews with a wide range of people and organizations, this report identifies issues that the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California must address as it reevaluates its role in the Southern California water industry.
The Impact of Water Supply Reductions on San Joaquin Valley Agriculture During the 1986-1992 Drought1998
This report attempts to improve understanding of the likely effects of water supply reductions on agriculture.
1987-91 California drought, evaluates existing work on the economic effects of the drought, and presents an agenda for future research to make an overall estimate of the economic costs of the drought in urban areas.