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Accounting for water-, energy- and food-security impacts in developing country water infrastructure decision-making under uncertainty

Hurford, AP; (2016) Accounting for water-, energy- and food-security impacts in developing country water infrastructure decision-making under uncertainty. Doctoral thesis , UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

Decision makers lack information and tools to help them understand non-revenue impacts of different water infrastructure investment and operation decisions on different stakeholders in developing countries. These challenges are compounded by multiple sources of uncertainty about the future, including climatic and socio-economic change. Many-objective trade-off analysis could improve understanding of the relationships between diverse stakeholder-defined benefits from a water resources system. It requires a river basin simulation model to evaluate the performance of the system resulting from different decisions. Metrics of performance can be defined in conjunction with stakeholders, relating the level of benefits they receive (monetised or otherwise) to flows or storages in the system. Coupling the model to a many-objective search algorithm allows billions of possible combinations of available decisions to be efficiently filtered to find those which maximise stakeholder benefits. Competition for water requires trade-offs, so a range of options can be generated which share resources differently. Uncertainties can be included in the analysis to help identify sets of decisions which provide acceptable benefits regardless of the future which manifests, i.e. perform robustly. From these options, decision makers can select a balance representing their preferences. This thesis reports the development of such a state-ofthe-art approach through applications in three real-world developing country contexts, with increasing levels of complexity and uncertainty. The first application in Brazil’s Jaguaribe Basin uses environmental and livelihoods indicators to help re-operate three existing dams. The second in Kenya’s Tana Basin adds new irrigation infrastructure investment options to decisions about re-operating a cascade of five existing dams in a more complex case. Finally robust portfolios of new hydropower investments are identified in Nepal’s Koshi Basin, accounting for climate and other uncertainties using a four-phased analytical approach. These applications confirm the approach’s utility and inform future research and practical use.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Title: Accounting for water-, energy- and food-security impacts in developing country water infrastructure decision-making under uncertainty
Event: UCL (University College London)
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science > Dept of Civil, Environ and Geomatic Eng
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1524233
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