Screening tactics in a water management policy analysis for the Netherlands

by Warren Walker, Meinaard A. Veen

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In a large policy analysis study there are generally too many alternative policies to examine in detail. As a result, a step is often included in which those policy options (tactics) that are clearly unattractive are screened out. The output from this step is a small list of tactics that deserve a more thorough evaluation. This paper describes the screening of tactics to change the movement and storage of water in the rivers, canals, ditches, and lakes of the Netherlands. The analysis was part of RAND's PAWN study (Policy Analysis for the Water Management of the Netherlands), which helped the Dutch government develop a new water management policy. The screening process for each tactic involved obtaining an upper bound on the expected annual benefits from the tactic under various assumptions about future water demands (UB), and comparing this upper bound with the tactic's annualized fixed cost (AFC). If the AFC was less than the UB, the tactic was considered promising and was retained for further analysis. If not, the tactic was screened out. Results from the screening analysis influenced policy decisions that will avoid investment expenditures of hundreds of millions of dollars and will reduce agricultural damage by about $15 million per year.

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