Sustainable water management under future uncertainty with eco-engineering decision scaling

Nature Climate Change
By: , and 

Links

Abstract

Managing freshwater resources sustainably under future climatic and hydrological uncertainty poses novel challenges. Rehabilitation of ageing infrastructure and construction of new dams are widely viewed as solutions to diminish climate risk, but attaining the broad goal of freshwater sustainability will require expansion of the prevailing water resources management paradigm beyond narrow economic criteria to include socially valued ecosystem functions and services. We introduce a new decision framework, eco-engineering decision scaling (EEDS), that explicitly and quantitatively explores trade-offs in stakeholder-defined engineering and ecological performance metrics across a range of possible management actions under unknown future hydrological and climate states. We illustrate its potential application through a hypothetical case study of the Iowa River, USA. EEDS holds promise as a powerful framework for operationalizing freshwater sustainability under future hydrological uncertainty by fostering collaboration across historically conflicting perspectives of water resource engineering and river conservation ecology to design and operate water infrastructure for social and environmental benefits.

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Sustainable water management under future uncertainty with eco-engineering decision scaling
Series title Nature Climate Change
DOI 10.1038/nclimate2765
Volume 6
Year Published 2015
Language English
Publisher Nature Pub. Group
Publisher location New York, NY
Contributing office(s) Fort Collins Science Center
Description 10
First page 25
Last page 34
Online Only (Y/N) N
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N