Evaluation of Reclamation-wide Needs for Risk and Uncertainty Capabilities in Water Resources Decisionmaking Tools

Project ID: 6620
Principal Investigator: Don Frevert
Research Topic: Managing Hydrologic Events
Funded Fiscal Years: 2005
Keywords: None

Research Question

* What capabilities does Reclamation need in its analysis and modeling tools to effectively evaluate and deal with risk and uncertainty issues in water resources management?

* How can these capabilities be effectively developed and implemented?

Need and Benefit

A number of tools are used for water resources decisionmaking on a Reclamation-wide basis. This may include models for simulating scenarios of water supply and water demand, models for short- and long-term forecasting of water supply and water demand, models for predicting extreme hydrologic events, etc. When modeling runs are made, the technical expert and manager are confronted with a suite of uncertainties, including hydrologic uncertainty, demand uncertainty, and policy uncertainty.

Once operational and policy decisions are made, different forms of risk must be considered--including the risk of invading flood control space, the risk of running a reservoir dry, the risk of failing to meet a required delivery or power generation requirement and the risk of not being able to meet temperature or other water quality requirements.

Risk and uncertainty issues seem to be treated on an ad-hoc basis--if at all--and the end result can be poor and misleading information for decisionmaking. These problems are believed to be Reclamation-wide issues which are common to many different modeling approaches.

This study team will conduct a survey of Reclamation-wide needs by contacting managers and modeling experts in all five regional offices and a number of key area offices. The end result will be a report recommending possible approaches that can be researched further to see what should be implemented to Reclamation's models as well as to databases and other decisionmaking tools. The report will also assess the need for further research into this area.

Contributing Partners

Contact the Principal Investigator for information about partners.

Research Products

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Last Updated: 4/4/17