Dec 7, 2016
This report provides an independent study of how the stormwater problem in the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania metropolitan region could grow with future climate, land use, or population change, and discusses potential long-term solutions using new analytical approaches developed by RAND. The analysis provides a baseline of scientific information intended to support ongoing regional coordination around stormwater management and water-quality planning.
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Cities and larger metropolitan regions are at the forefront of efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, understand and respond to current and future effects of climate change, and develop resilience and adaptation capacity in response to climate change.
This study focused on the ongoing challenge of stormwater management in the Pittsburgh metropolitan region. The city of Pittsburgh and other municipalities in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, face significant challenges in meeting water-quality requirements and upgrading their aging and inadequately sized regional combined sewer system, a problem that could grow with future climate, population, or land-use changes. The research in this report provides an independent study of the growing stormwater problem and discusses potential long-term solutions using new analytical approaches developed by RAND. Specifically, the study applied a participatory decision support framework and method for improving decisions under deep uncertainty called Robust Decision Making (RDM). RDM is an iterative, quantitative decision analytic framework that brings together experts and decisionmakers to help identify the full extent of a challenge, as well as potentially robust strategies to address it. The framework enables the participants to characterize the vulnerabilities of proposed strategies and evaluate the trade-offs among them.
This research is intended to support improved stormwater, wastewater, and climate resilience planning in the Pittsburgh region. The intended audience includes local government agencies and regional authorities addressing this challenge, local stakeholders engaged in stormwater and wastewater planning, state and federal regulators, and planners in other cities facing similar challenges with aging infrastructure and climate uncertainty.
Regional Stormwater Planning in Allegheny County
Future Sewer Overflow Vulnerability
Comparing Source Reduction and Wastewater Policy Levers
Robust Decision Making Strategy Comparison
Key Findings and Next Steps
Stormwater and Wastewater Modeling
Technical Inputs for Scenario Development
Stormwater Management Strategy Development
Final Design of Experiments