Congressional Briefing - January 31, 2008

Meeting the Challenges of Water Resource Planning:
New Decision Support Methods for Water Managers Facing an Uncertain Future Climate

Water Resource Planning


Robert Lempert and David Groves
Introduction by Debra Knopman


Thursday, January 31, 2008


1:00 – 2:00 P.M.


2203 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, D.C.

How to Attend:

Contact Sirat Attapit at or 703-413-1100 ext. 5938.

About the Program

The presentation will describe a new approach to climate change decision support and its application to Southern California's Inland Empire Utilities Agency (IEUA). Despite significant uncertainty about its future climate and other challenges, the studies helped IEUA identify robust and cost-effective responses. While other regions may have different management concerns and options available than IEUA, these new planning methods can be applied to address a wide range of challenges facing today's water management agencies.

Water management agencies face a difficult challenge of planning under uncertainty. Traditionally agencies draft their water management plans assuming that their regions' future climate and all its variability will be similar to that experienced historically. Unfortunately, this planning assumption seems increasingly unlikely to hold in the future.

As part of a multiyear project on improving decision making under uncertainty, RAND researchers have been helping water management agencies in California identify their vulnerabilities to future climate change and their best options for reducing those vulnerabilities.

In this briefing, Robert Lempert, RAND Senior Scientist, and David Groves, RAND Associate Policy Researcher, will present findings from two new RAND reports:

  • Presenting Uncertainty About Climate Change to Water Resource Managers: A Summary of Workshops with the Inland Empire Utilities Agency and
  • Preparing for an Uncertain Future Climate in the Inland Empire: Identifying Robust Water Management Strategies

About the Speakers

Debra Knopman

Debra Knopman is Vice President and Director of RAND Infrastructure, Safety, and Environment. Dr. Knopman's research background is in hydrology, environmental and natural resources policy, systems analysis, and public administration. From 1997 to 2003, she was a member of the Nuclear Waste Technical Review Board, which has oversight of the Yucca Mountain scientific and engineering program. She served as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Water and Science at the U.S. Department of the Interior, Chief of the Branch of Systems Analysis in the U.S. Geological Survey, professional staff member on the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, and legislative assistant for energy and environmental issues to Senator Daniel P. Moynihan.

Robert Lempert

Robert Lempert leads RAND's multiyear, NSF-funded effort on climate change decision making uncertainty Improving Decisions in a Complex and Changing World. A RAND senior scientist and professor of policy analysis in the Pardee RAND Graduate School, Dr. Lempert is a member of the National Academy's Climate Research Committee, a contributing author to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), a Fellow of the American Physical Society, and an author of the book Shaping the Next One Hundred Years: New Methods for Quantitative, Long-Term Policy Analysis.

David Groves

David Groves is a RAND associate policy researcher and professor of policy analysis in the Pardee RAND Graduate School. He specializes in the development and use of exploratory modeling and robust decision making methods for long-term policy analysis. For the past several years he has worked to apply these tools to water resource planning in a variety of contexts in California. He has a doctorate in Policy Analysis and masters degrees in Atmospheric Sciences and Earth Systems.

RAND Office of Congressional Relations

For 60 years, RAND has provided policymakers with independent, objective research and analysis on key national security, domestic and international issues. RAND work helps members of Congress and their staffs make better-informed decisions on the nation's pressing challenges. The Office of Congressional Relations offers a number of products and services to educate, inform, and facilitate congressional policymakers' access to RAND work, including coordinating congressional testimony by RAND experts, organizing briefings and meetings, synthesizing RAND work into topical e-newsletters and providing reports and publications to congressional offices. For more information, visit the Office of Congressional Relations webpage, contact or call (703) 413-1100 x5395.

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Further Inquiries

For further information about this event, contact the Office of Congressional Relations at or call (703) 413-1100 x5395.