Evaluation of the Jinan City Water Ecological Development Implementation Plan and Recommendations for Improvement

by David G. Groves, Debra Knopman, James Syme, Nidhi Kalra, Zhimin Mao


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Research Questions

  1. How will future demand and climate conditions challenge Jinan's ability to reliably provide water supplies of sufficient quantity and quality to residential, industrial, and agricultural sectors?
  2. How will JWRB's Implementation Plan (IP) address future climate and other uncertainties?
  3. What actions could be taken to reduce vulnerabilities to unmet demand and increase the robustness of Jinan's system across a wide range of possible future conditions?

The Jinan Municipal Water Resources Bureau, with support from the Shandong Provincial Department of Water Resources, asked RAND to evaluate potential effects of demand and climate uncertainties on investments recently undertaken according to the Jinan City Water Ecological Development Implementation Plan. RAND was also asked to assess the potential of new investments and management strategies to help Jinan meet its long-term water resources goals. RAND's approach uses well-tested methods of decision support, starting with building a shared understanding of the nature of the decision, metrics to evaluate progress toward goals, key uncertainties that drive outcomes, and relevant physical and other relationships within Jinan's complex water system. The approach also uses visualizations to help policymakers understand the implications of the results, build consensus, and facilitate decision making. This document describes RAND's approach and results, including the development of a mathematical simulation model of the Jinan water system, using the Water Evaluation and Planning software developed by the Stockholm Environmental Institute, and analysis of the system's performance under a range of uncertainties about future climate and demand across sectors.

Key Findings

Projected Demand, River Allocations, and Changes in Climate Affect Residential, Industrial, and Agricultural Sectors

  • Because of data limitations, particularly pertaining to surface and groundwater interactions, model results should be taken as instructive and not definitive.
  • All of the downscaled climate projections show warming. However, there is scientific disagreement about whether conditions will be getting wetter or drier. One of the benefits of this analysis is that it helps Jinan officials understand how important this uncertainty is by looking at results across a wide range of wetter and drier conditions. Our study shows that it is not an important factor in most cases.
  • Unmet demand in the residential sector is driven more by levels of projected demand and allocation of Yellow River resources than by changes in future climate.
  • Under a medium demand projection and full Yellow River allocation, the industrial sector is vulnerable only under an assumption of low initial groundwater storage. Under a 50-percent Yellow River allocation, the industrial sector is vulnerable under all demand projections, regardless of initial groundwater assumptions.
  • The vulnerability of the agricultural sector depends on future climate more than the residential and industrial sectors. We see no shortages in the wettest climates but very significant shortages in drier climates.
  • Jinan's springs are vulnerable across all futures. Even in wet climates, low spring flows each year occur around three months on average; in dry climates, low flows appear on average about eight months each year.


  • Strategies in the residential sector that include reuse and full implementation of water use efficiency reduce vulnerabilities significantly.
  • The industrial sector is more vulnerable than the residential sector. Increasing reuse helps to eliminate unmet demand almost entirely.
  • The agricultural sector is less vulnerable than the other sectors, but any measures that reduce irrigation demands in drier climates will be essential. Because agricultural unmet demand is relatively small, as ample surface and groundwater supplies are available in the districts in which agriculture dominates, excess supply could be transferred elsewhere in the system with new conveyance structures.
  • All strategies that include the proposed Springs Adaptive Groundwater Management policy reduce the number of months of low spring flow.
  • Management of groundwater resources is a key to Jinan's future. More extensive and efficient use of surface water resources to satisfy demands across the sectors will reduce pressure on groundwater.
  • Efforts should continue to improve the quality of input data to the Jinan WEAP model. Priority should be given to those parameters that relate to ground- and surface water interactions.
  • The Jinan WEAP model should be considered a work in progress and tool for improving understanding of Jinan's complex water management system. We recommend that a single individual be responsible for overseeing model development, maintenance, and operations.
  • Consideration should be given for linking the output of a well-calibrated, high-resolution groundwater model to the Jinan WEAP model. This would improve the ability of the Jinan WEAP model to represent surface and groundwater interactions, particularly the behavior of the spring systems.

Table of Contents

  • Chapter One


  • Chapter Two

    Approach to Analysis and Visualization of Long-Term Performance

  • Chapter Three

    Development and Calibration of the Jinan WEAP Model

  • Chapter Four

    Scenario Development

  • Chapter Five

    Baseline Evaluation of Vulnerability to Unmet Demand Assuming Historical Climate Conditions

  • Chapter Six

    Evaluation of Vulnerabilities Across Future Climate Projections

  • Chapter Seven

    Reducing Vulnerability to Unmet Demand Through the Implementation Plan and Additional Management Strategies

  • Chapter Eight

    Challenges of Flood Frequency Analysis Under a Changing Climate

  • Chapter Nine

    Observations and Recommendations

  • Appendix A

    Data Collection

  • Appendix B

    Status of Implementation Plan

  • Appendix C

    Adjustment of Demand Projections

  • Appendix D

    Regression Models Used in Climate Projections

  • Appendix E

    Decision Rule for Springs Adaptive Groundwater Management

  • Appendix F

    Experimental Design

  • Appendix G

    Water Balance Tables

The research reported here was conducted in the Infrastructure Resilience and Environmental Policy Program within RAND Justice, Infrastructure, and Environment.

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