A Recommended Paradigm Shift in the Approach to Risks to Large Water Infrastructure in the Coming Decades
We propose the adoption of a bottom-up, resource-based vulnerability approach in evaluating the effect of climate and other environmental and societal threats to large water management infrastructure. To effectively reduce risk and increase resiliency requires as a prerequisite the determination of the major threats to local and regional water supplies and quality from weather including those from extreme flood and drought events, but also from other social and environmental issues. After these threats are identified, the relative risks can be compared in order to adopt optimal preferred mitigation/adaptation strategies. This is a more inclusive way of assessing risks, including from climate variability and human and natural climate change, than using the outcome vulnerability approach adopted by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). This “contextual vulnerability” assessment using the bottom-up, resource-based framework is a more inclusive approach for policymakers dealing with water management infrastructure to adopt effective mitigation and adaptation methodologies to deal with the complexity of the spectrum of social and environmental events that will occur in the coming decades.
The authors want to thank Dallas Staley for her usual outstanding editorial support.
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