Sustainable water resource management under hydrological uncertainty

  • Ajami N
  • Hornberger G
  • Sunding D
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A proper understanding of the sources and effects of uncertainty is needed to achieve the goals of reliability and sustainability in water resource management and planning. Many studies have focused on uncertainties relating to climate inputs (e. g., precipitation and temperature), as well as those related to supply and demand relationships. In the end-to-end projection of the hydrological impacts of climate variability, however, hydrological uncertainties have often been ignored or addressed indirectly. In this paper, we demonstrate the importance of hydrological uncertainties for reliable water resources management. We assess the uncertainties associated with hydrological inputs, parameters, and model structural uncertainties using an integrated Bayesian uncertainty estimator framework. Subsequently, these uncertainties are propagated through a simple reservoir management model in order to evaluate how various operational rules impact the characteristics of the downstream uncertainties, such as the width of the uncertainty bounds. By considering different operational rules, we examine how hydrological uncertainties impact reliability, resilience, and vulnerability of the management system. The results of this study suggest that a combination of operational rules (i.e., an adaptive operational approach) is the most reliable and sustainable overall management strategy.

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  • N Ajami

  • G Hornberger

  • D Sunding

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