Natural hazards and climate change present growing challenges to community water system (CWS) managers, who are increasingly turning to vulnerability assessments to identify, prioritize, and adapt to risks. Effectively assessing CWS vulnerability requires information and participation from various sources, one of which is stakeholders. In this article, we present a deliberative risk-ranking methodology, the participatory vulnerability scoping diagram (P-VSD), which allows rapid assessment and integration of multiple stakeholder perspectives of vulnerability. This technique is based on methods of deliberative risk evaluation and the vulnerability scoping diagram. The goal of the methodology is to engage CWS managers and stakeholders collectively to provide qualitative contextual risk rankings as a first step in a vulnerability assessment. We conduct an initial assessment using a case study of CWS in two U.S. counties, sites with broadly similar exposures but differences in population, land use, and other social sensitivity factors. Results demonstrate that CWS managers and stakeholders in the two case study communities all share the belief that their CWS are vulnerable to hazards but differ in how this vulnerability manifests itself in terms of the exposure, sensitivity, and adaptive capacity of the system.
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The participatory vulnerability scoping diagram - deliberative risk ranking for community water systems