Enhancement of Risk and Uncertainty Capabilities in Decisionmaking Tools

Project ID: 7938
Principal Investigator: Shana Tighi
Research Topic: Managing Hydrologic Events
Funded Fiscal Years: 2006
Keywords: None

Research Question

* What capabilities are needed in 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?

* How can information outputs be defined to be useful to decision-makers and stakeholders?

* What are the risk communication needs and how will the availability of this information change the decision paradigm?

Need and Benefit

Hydrologic modeling is a highly uncertain endeavor in which water supply forecast, demand forecast, climate forecast, and even policy within a system are not static. There is a growing emphasis within the water resources community upon recognizing and capturing uncertainty in its management practices.

Reclamation has several very effective and highly developed hydrologic modeling tools that are being used in multiple basins for a wide range of purposes. What is lacking, however, is an equally developed and uniform mechanism that accounts for input (including forecast) and model parameter uncertainty and characterizes the resulting output uncertainty from these models.

Each of the models generally requires as input a particular hydrologic or water supply forecast, a single set of demands, and specific values for any other inputs that it requires. From these inputs, the models generate a single output forecast. While the models themselves are technically sound and very accurate simulation tools, the output from a single run is incomplete and even potentially misleading. This Science and Technology (S&T) Program research project is aimed at providing technical experts and decisionmakers with a rigorous, uniform approach toward characterization of model output uncertainty. This will provide a complete set of information on which to base water management decisions. This new set of information will consist of the full range of possible outcomes and the associated probabilities of each. From this set of outputs, decisionmakers can then quantify consequences and derive meaningful risk estimates for potential management decisions.

Potential ancillary benefits from the use of the products of this research may take the form of conserved money, time, and water, and may also enrich Reclamation facilities through enhanced safety and recreational capability.

Contributing Partners

Contact the Principal Investigator for information about partners.

Research Products

Please contact research@usbr.gov about research products related to this project.

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Last Updated: 4/4/17