Water Resources Management


Fresh water is an essential and often scarce resource, and ensuring its optimum use and availability for sanitation, drinking, manufacturing, leisure, and agriculture requires significant planning. RAND research on water resources management has focused on flooding in Vietnam, scarcity along the Colorado River Basin, California's water plan, and Qatar's environmental needs.

Explore Water Resources Management

  • The Colorado Aqueduct near the Iron Mountain Pumping Plant in Earp, California, April 16, 2015


    How Federal Policy Could Help Water and Wastewater Utilities

    A targeted approach could help the federal government address the root causes of infrastructure problems more effectively than a spending initiative that simply spreads money around with the hope that more spending might do some good.

    Jan 16, 2018

  • People walk alongside the Tujunga Wash urban stream in Los Angeles

    Journal Article

    A Climate Stress Test of Los Angeles' Water Quality Plans

    Overall, this study suggests that climate change and land use can significantly affect TMDL implementation plans; identifies how one such plan might be modified to address the resulting vulnerabilities; and demonstrates how robust decision making methods, employed with existing simulation models, may be able to generate legally acceptable plans that are robust and flexible in the face of climate and other uncertainties.

    Sep 20, 2017

  • Parker Dam impounds Colorado River water into Lake Havasu, where it is pumped into the Colorado Aqueduct for delivery to Southern California, April 16, 2015.


    How Should Water Professionals Invest in Resilience?

    Water professionals can think about building resilience as a process of embracing and managing future uncertainty. Rather than trying to predict which problem to plan for, researchers help planners consider a wide range of potential scenarios.

    Jul 12, 2017

  • Filling up a glass with water from a kitchen faucet


    Getting the Lead Out of Pittsburgh's Water

    Without an aggressive long-term strategy for replacing service lines, and collaboration among the water authority, public officials, and residents, lead in Pittsburgh's water will persist.

    Jul 3, 2017

  • Water line repair in a city street


    Pittsburgh's Options to Address Lead in Its Water

    Pittsburgh is struggling to manage and improve its aging water system, with a focus on elevated lead levels for many customers. What steps could help steer the city toward a permanent solution and protect future generations?

    Jun 27, 2017

  • Commercial Book

    Smart Markets for Water Resources: A Manual for Implementation

    This book combines explanation, examples, and detail to inform policymakers, large water users, environmental organizations, researchers, and a thirsty public.

    Jun 19, 2017

  • Periodical

    RAND Review: May-June 2017

    This issue highlights recent RAND research on suicide prevention; on the scope of the humanitarian and security crisis in the Mediterranean region; and on what RAND is doing to improve the security and well-being of people throughout the Middle East.

    May 2, 2017

  • A view of downtown Pittsburgh, the Sixth Street Bridge, and the Allegheny River


    Robust Stormwater Management in the Pittsburgh Region

    The city of Pittsburgh and its surrounding region face significant—and potentially growing—stormwater management challenges. Analysis can help better understand the system's vulnerabilities and identify solutions.

    Apr 24, 2017

  • View of San Francisco at sunrise


    RAND Opens Office in the San Francisco Bay Area

    RAND has opened an office in the Bay Area to foster collaboration with the region's leaders and researchers working to solve today's complex problems. Nidhi Kalra, a senior information scientist, is leading the new office.

    Apr 3, 2017

  • View of San Francisco and across the bay


    RAND in the San Francisco Bay Area

    RAND opened its San Francisco Bay Area location to serve as a research hub at the intersection of technological change, innovation, and public policy at all levels. Nidhi Kalra, a senior information scientist, is leading the office.

    Apr 3, 2017

  • Baotu Spring in Jinan City, Shandong, China


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

    RAND evaluated potential effects of uncertain projections of demand and climate change on the ability of the Jinan Municipal Water Resources Bureau to meet its long-term water resources goals for Shandong Province's capital city.

    Mar 9, 2017

  • Tool

    Developing the Pardee RAND Food-Energy-Water Security Index: Toward a Global Standardized, Quantitative, and Transparent Resource Assessment

    To provide information to agencies and efforts focused on food, water, and energy resources, the RAND Corporation developed the Pardee RAND Food-Energy-Water Security Index. This report serves as the technical documentation for the index.

    Apr 28, 2016

  • Report

    Water Management, Partnerships, Rights, and Market Trends: An Overview for Army Installation Managers

    This report assesses water management, partnerships, rights, and market trends and opportunities, and how Army installations can potentially use them to improve programs and investments in water and wastewater systems.

    Apr 5, 2016

  • Syrian refugees at Al Zaatari refugee camp in Mafraq, Jordan, November 1, 2015


    How the Syrian Refugee Crisis Can Improve Jordan's Outlook

    Syrian refugees might benefit the Jordanian economy by stimulating growth. Donors and lenders have increased their support to Jordan, in turn offering the government an opportunity to improve the lives of both refugees and Jordanian citizens.

    Nov 30, 2015

  • The coastline in the Miraflores district of Lima, Peru


    Ensuring Robust Water Management Strategies in Lima-Callão, Peru

    Water resource agencies around the world are grappling with how to make smart investments to ensure long-term water reliability at a time of unprecedented water stress, growing demands, uncertain climate change, and limited budgets.

    Nov 16, 2015

  • Commercial stores at the beach in Lima, Peru

    Journal Article

    Robust Decision-Making in the Water Sector: A Strategy for Implementing Lima's Long-Term Water Resources Master Plan

    This study helped SEDAPAL, the water utility serving Lima, Peru, answer the question of long-term water reliability by drawing on state of the art methods for decision making under deep uncertainty.

    Nov 11, 2015

  • Events @ RAND Audio Podcast


    California's Drought and Water Policy

    California has implemented numerous policy changes to cope with a record-breaking, four-year drought. In this Events @ RAND podcast, a panel of experts discuss what government agencies can do to better manage water resources, what methods are most effective at encouraging citizens to use water wisely, and how leaders can better plan for future climate crises.

    Sep 30, 2015

  • A stream runs through the woods in autumn


    Managing Water Quality in the Face of Uncertainty

    The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, along with state and local partners, develops and implements water quality plans. But uncertainty about the impacts of climate change and other factors may make it harder to meet water quality goals. Robust Decision Making can help better manage this uncertainty.

    Sep 9, 2015

  • Protestors block trucks at the gate of a private-contractor company hired to shut off the water to residential customers with unpaid bills in Detroit, Michigan


    What Durban Can Teach Detroit: Getting Customers to Pay Their Water Bills

    South Africa is proving that governments in poor cities can provide water and collect payment without turning off the water spigot. Detroit and Baltimore might consider exploring models like this that have been successfully tested in even more challenging settings.

    Jul 29, 2015