Cover: Elicitation of Climate Information to Support Water Agency Planning

Elicitation of Climate Information to Support Water Agency Planning

Report of a Workshop with the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission

Published May 8, 2023

by Robert J. Lempert, Sandra H. Berry, Stephanie Tanverakul

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Human-induced climate change has become a significant influence on the hydrological cycle worldwide, requiring water agencies to anticipate the effects of a changed current and future climate in their planning. Typically, water agencies use general circulation climate models to anticipate future climate conditions. But such models may underestimate the full scope of future climate change. Expert elicitation can provide another source of information that is useful for planning. RAND researchers helped the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) use a Delphi-based expert elicitation approach to supplement climate model projections as inputs to its recent climate change adaptation planning process. These conference proceedings describe that elicitation exercise and its results, as well as offer suggestions for how other agencies might use the demonstrated approaches.

The expert elicitation was conducted at an in-person Climate Information Elicitation Workshop held at SFPUC offices March 21–22, 2019. The elicitation provides estimates of changes in annual mean temperature and precipitation for three watershed regions and two greenhouse gas concentrations pathways. The elicitation also provides estimates for seven other climate parameters, including those associated with drought intensity and duration and the intensity and frequency of atmospheric rivers.

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This research was sponsored by the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission and conducted in the Community Health and Environmental Policy Program within RAND Social and Economic Well-Being.

This report is part of the RAND conference proceeding series. RAND conference proceedings present a collection of papers delivered at a conference or a summary of the conference.

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