Decision Tools to Evaluate Vulnerabilities and Adaptation Strategies to Climate Change
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Decision Tools to Evaluate Vulnerabilities and Adaptation Strategies to Climate Change Water Resources Sector.

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Decision Tools to Evaluate Vulnerabilities and Adaptation Strategies to Climate ChangeWater Resources Sector

Sebastián VicuñaUniversity of California, Berkeley/SEICGE Hands-on Training Workshop on V&A Assessments for the Latin America and the Caribbean RegionAsunción, Paraguay, 14-18 August 2006

Outline l.jpg
Outline Strategies to Climate Change

  • Vulnerability and adaptation with respect to water resources

  • Hydrologic implications of climate change for water resources

  • Tools/models

  • WEAP model presentation

  • Role for Multi-Criteria Analysis (MCA)

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Effective V&A Assessments Strategies to Climate Change

  • Defining V&A assessment

    • Often V&A in the water sector focuses on analysis over assessment

    • Why? Because the focus is on biophysical impacts, e.g., hydrologic response, crop yields, land use, etc.

  • Assessment is an integrating process requiring the interface of physical and social science and public policy

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Effective V&A Assessments Strategies to Climate Change(continued)

  • General questions

    • What is the assessment trying to influence?

    • How can the science/policy interface be most effective?

    • How can the participants be most effective in the process?

  • General problems

    • Participants bring differing objectives/ expertise

    • These differences often lead to dissention/ differing opinions – this is where MCA can help in prioritization

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Effective V&A Assessments Strategies to Climate Change(continued)

  • To be valuable, the assessment process requires

    • Relevancy

    • Credibility

    • Legitimacy

    • Consistent participation

  • An interdisciplinary process

    • The assessment process often requires a tool

    • The tool is usually a model or suite of models

    • These models serve as the interface

    • This interface is a bridge for dialogue between scientists and policy makers

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The Water Resource Sector Strategies to Climate ChangeWater’s “Trade-Off” Landscape

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Water Resources from Strategies to Climate Changea Services Perspective

  • Not just an evaluation of rainfall-runoff or streamflow

  • But an evaluation of the potential impacts of global warming on the goods and services provided by freshwater systems

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Natural Strategies to Climate Change




State of System

Little Control

of processes

Water Resources – A Critical V&A Sector

  • Must consider both managed and natural systems

  • Human activity influences both systems





Product, good or service

Process Control


Example: Agriculture

Example: Wetlands

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Hydrologic ‘External Pressures’ related to Climate Change

  • Precipitation amount

    • Global average increase

    • Marked regional differences

  • Temperature increase

    • Change in timing of streamflows

    • Glacier retreat

  • Precipitation frequency and intensity

    • Less frequent, more intense (Trenberth et al., 2003)

  • Evaporation and transpiration

    • Increase total evaporation

    • Regional complexities due to plant/atmosphere interactions

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Specific Pressures: Annual Runoff Change

Change in annual runoff (A2 scenario)

Arnell., 2003

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Specific Pressures: Annual Runoff Change

Change in annual runoff (A2 scenario)

Arnell., 2003

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Specific Pressures: Annual Runoff Change

Change in annual runoff (A2 scenario)

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Analogy with Western North America West

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Analogy with Western North America West

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Refill lost West

Inflow spilled

Specific Pressures: Runoff timing, analogy to North American West

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Specific Pressures: Retreating glaciers West

Evolución del glaciar Chacaltaya (Bolivia)

Retroceso del glaciar Broggi

Glaciar en 1979 y 1997

Fluctuación del frente de 4 glaciares en Perú

Comunicación Nacional del Perú a la UNFCCC

Francou et al., 2000

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Specific Pressures: Retreating glaciers West

  • Meltwaters are depended upon during dry season to sustain low flow periods

    • Probable diminished volume and earlier timing of flows

    • Has implications for hydropower production, agricultural demands, and river and riparian quality and ecosystem needs

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Specific Pressures: Extreme weather West

  • Climate variability (El Nino/Nina Southern Oscillation) impact water availability and all economic sectors en several countries in the region (e.g. Peru, Ecuador, Central America) (IPCC 2001).

  • Some climate models indicate more El Nino-like climate with increased greenhouse gases concentrations (Meehl and Washington 1996; Trenberth and Hoar, 1997)

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Specific Pressures: Extreme weather West

Change in extremes by the 2050s, under HadCM3

Arnell., 2003

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Specific Pressures: Extreme weather West

Change in extremes by the 2050s, under HadCM3

Arnell., 1999

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Examples of Adaptation in Water Resources West

  • Construction/modification of physical infrastructure

    • Canal linings

    • Closed conduits instead of open channels

    • Integrating separate reservoirs into a single system

    • Reservoirs/hydro-plants/delivery systems

    • Raising dam wall height

    • Increasing canal size

    • Removing sediment from reservoirs for more storage

    • Inter-basin water transfers

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Examples of Adaptation in Water Resources West(continued)

  • Adaptive management of existing water supply systems

    • Change operating rules for reservoirs

    • Use conjunctive surface/groundwater supply

    • Physically integrate reservoir operation system

    • Coordinate supply/demand

    • Indigenous options

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Examples of Adaptation in West Water Resources (continued)

  • Policy, conservation, efficiency, and technology

    • Domestic

      • Municipal and in-home re-use of water

      • Leak repair

      • Rainwater collection for non-potable uses

      • Low-flow appliances

      • Dual-supply systems (potable and nonpotable)

    • Agriculture

      • Irrigation timing and efficiency

      • Drainage re-use, use of wastewater effluent

      • High value/low water use crops

      • Drip, micro-spray, low-energy, precision application irrigation systems

      • Salt-tolerant crops that can use drain water

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Examples of Adaptation – WestWater Supply (continued)

  • Policy, conservation, efficiency, and technology (continued)

    • Industry

      • Water re-use and recycling

      • Closed cycle and/or air cooling

      • More efficient hydropower turbines

      • Cooling ponds, wet towers and dry towers

    • Energy (hydropower)

      • Reservoir re-operation

      • Cogeneration (beneficial use of waste heat)

      • Additional reservoirs and hydropower stations

      • Low head run of the river hydropower

      • Market/price-driven transfers to other activities

      • Using water price to shift water use between sectors

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Tools in Water Resource WestV&A Studies

  • What tools are available to understand both water resource vulnerabilities and evaluate possible adaptation strategies?

  • How can stakeholders be engaged in these processes?

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Types of Water Resources Models West

  • Hydraulic: biophysical process models describing streamflow, flooding

  • Hydrology: rainfall/runoff processes

  • Planning: water resource systems models

    Which model?...

    What questions are you trying to answer?

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Hydraulic Model West

  • Critical questions

    • How fast, deep is river flowing (flooding effects)

    • How do changes to flow and channel morphology impact sediment transport and services provided (fish habitats, recreation, etc).

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Hydrology Model West

  • Critical questions

    • How does rainfall on a catchment translate into flow in a river?

    • What pathways does water follow as it moves through a catchment?

    • How does movement along these pathways impact the magnitude, timing, duration, and frequency of river flows, as well as water quality?

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Planning Model West

  • Critical questions

    • How should water be allocated to various uses in time of shortage?

    • How can these operations be constrained to protect the services provided by the river?

    • How should infrastructure in the system (e.g., dams, diversion works) be operated to achieve maximum benefit (economic, social, ecological)?

    • How will allocation, operations, and operating constraints change if new management strategies are introduced into the system?

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Tools to Use for the Assessment: Referenced Water Models West

Operational and hydraulic

  • HEC

    • HEC-HMS – event-based rainfall-runoff (provides input to HEC-RAS for doing 1-d flood inundation “mapping”)

    • HEC-RAS – one-dimensional steady and unsteady flow

    • HEC-ResSim – reservoir operation modeling

  • WaterWare

  • RiverWare

  • MIKE11

  • Delft3d

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Hydraulic WestWater Management Model

  • HEC-HMS watershed scale, event based hydrologic simulation, of rainfall-runoff processes

    • Sub-daily rainfall-runoff processes of small catchments

    • Free, download from web

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Tools to Use for the Assessment: Referenced Water Models West(continued)

  • Planning/ hydrology

    • WEAP21

    • Aquarius

    • SWAT

    • IRAS (Interactive River and Aquifer Simulation)


    • MIKE 21 and BASIN

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Current Focus – Planning and WestHydrologic Implications of Climate Change

  • Selected planning/hydrology models: can be deployed on PC, extensive documentation, ease of use, free (or free to developing nations)…

    • Aquarius

    • SWAT (Soil Water Assessment Tool)

    • WEAP21 (Water Evaluation and Planning)

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Physical Hydrology and WestWater Management Models

  • AQUARIUS advantage: Has economic efficiency criterion requiring the reallocation of stream flows until the net marginal return in all water uses is equal

    • Cannot be climatically driven – flows prescribed by user

    • Economic focus

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Physical Hydrology and WestWater Management Models (continued)

  • SWAT advantage:

    Can predict effect of management decisions on water, sediment, nutrient and pesticide yields on ungauged river basins. Considers complex water quality constituents.

    • Rainfall-runoff, river routing on a daily timestep

    • Focuses on supply side of water balance

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Physical Hydrology and WestWater Management Models (continued)

  • WEAP21 advantage: Seamlessly integrates watershed hydrologic processes with water resources management

    • Can be climatically driven

    • Based on holistic approach of integrated water resources management (IWRM) – supply and demand

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Overview WEAP21 West

  • Hydrology and planning

  • Planning (water distribution) examples and exercises

  • Adding hydrology to the model

  • User interface

  • Scale

  • Data requirements and resources

  • Calibration and validation

  • Results

  • Scenarios

  • Licensing and registration

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WEAP and Planning West

  • Provides a common framework for transparently organizing water resource data at any scale desired – local watershed, regional or transboundary river basin

  • Scenarios can be easily developed to explore possible water futures

  • Implications of various policies can be evaluated

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Uses of WEAP West

  • Policy Research

    • Alternative Allocations

    • Climate Change

    • Land Use Change

    • Infrastructure Planning

  • Capacity Building

  • Negotiation

  • Stakeholder Engagement

Weap capabilities l.jpg

Can do West

High level planning at local and regional scales

Demand management

Water allocation

Infrastructure evaluation

WEAP Capabilities

Cannot do

  • Sub-daily operations

  • Optimization of supply and demand (e.g. cost minimizations or social welfare maximization)

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40 West


A Simple System with WEAP21

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10 Unmet West



An Infrastructure Constraint

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10 Unmet West




A Regulatory Constraint

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40 West



10 unmet

Different Priorities

  • For example, the demands of large farmers (70 units) might be Priority 1 in one scenario whereas the demands of smallholders (40 units) may be Priority 1 in another

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Different Preferences West

  • For example, a center pivot operator may prefer to take water from a tributary because of lower pumping costs





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WEAP is Scenario-driven West

  • The scenario editor readily accommodates analysis of:

    • Climate change scenarios and assumptions

    • Future demand assumptions

    • Future watershed development assumptions

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Futures and Scenarios: Why? West

  • Scenarios: a systematic way of thinking about the future

  • To gain a better understanding of the possible implications of decisions (or non-decisions across scales and time

  • To support decision-making

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Driving Forces West


  • Computer and information technology

  • Biotechnology

  • Miniaturization


  • Increasing global stress

  • Local degradation

  • Some remediation in richer countries


  • Global institutions

  • Democratic government

  • Role for civil society in decision-making


  • More people

  • Urbanization

  • Older


  • Growing integration of global economy


  • Increasing inequality

  • Persistent poverty


  • Spread of values of consumerism and individualism

  • Nationalist and religious reaction

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Who are the Actors? West

  • Government

  • Private sector

  • Civil society

  • Public

  • Rich farmers

  • Poor farmers

  • Urban users

  • Environmentalists

  • Or?

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Consider Sources of Uncertainty West


Understanding is limited


The unexpected and the novel can alter directions


Human choice matters

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? West

Where is society going?




Forecast and Backcast

Where do we want to go?

How do we get there?

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The WEAP21 Graphical WestUser Interface


Interface Only





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Data Requirements West

  • WEAP allows the user to determine the level of complexity desired

    • according to the questions that need to be addressed

    • the availability of data

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Data Requirements: Supply West

  • User-prescribed supply (riverflow given as fixed time series)

    • Time series data of riverflows (headflows) cfs

    • River network (connectivity)

  • Alternative supply via physical hydrology (let the watershed generate riverflow)

    • Watershed attributes

      • Area, land cover . . .

    • Climate

      • Precipitation, temperature, windspeed, and relative humidity

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The WEAP 2-Bucket WestHydrology Module

Surface Runoff =




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One 2-Bucket Model Westper Land Class

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Data Requirements: Demand in WEAP21

  • Water demand data: multi-sectoral

    • Municipal and industrial demand

      • Aggregated by sector (manufacturing, tourism, etc.)

      • Disaggregated by population (e.g., use/capita, use/socioeconomic group)

    • Agricultural demands

      • Aggregated by area (# hectares, annual water-use/hectare)

      • Disaggregated by crop water requirements

    • Ecosystem demands (in-stream flow requirements)

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Data Requirements in WEAP21(continued)
























Single Family







Electric Power




South City

West City


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Example Data Resources in WEAP21

  • Indigenous knowledge!

  • Climate

  • Hydrology (Global Runoff Data Center)

  • GIS

  • General Resources

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Calibration and Validation in WEAP21

  • Model evaluation criteria

    • Flows along mainstem and tributaries

    • Reservoir storage and release

    • Water diversions from other basins

    • Agricultural water demand and delivery

    • Municipal and industrial water demands and deliveries

    • Groundwater storage trends and levels

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Select results to be in WEAP21

viewed, including

which scenario here.

Change units

and sub

categories of

results, and

change the

style of the

graph here.

Select values

for the y


Looking at Results

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What next? in WEAP21

  • How can output from WEAP, or any water resource model for that matter, be organized and analyzed to prioritize and select appropriate adaptation strategies?...

    Stakeholder-driven multi-criteria analysis can help…

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Multi-criteria Analysis (MCA) in WEAP21

  • Any structured approach used to determine overall preferences among alternative options, where the alternatives can accomplish several objectives

  • Is particularly useful to situations where a single criterion would fall short, and allows decision-makers to address a range of relevant factors

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MCA: Scope in WEAP21

  • All sectors, regions, livelihoods, ecosystems, etc.

  • Has been used extensively in water resources planning, coastal zone management, agricultural development, and stakeholder processes

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MCA: Key Outputs in WEAP21

  • A single preferred option, or…

  • A short list of preferred options, or…

  • A characterization of acceptable and unacceptable possiblities

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MCA: Key Inputs in WEAP21

  • Evaluation criteria

  • Relevant metrics for those criteria

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MCA–WEAP: Motivation in WEAP21

  • Develop an interactive computer tool to facilitate multi-criteria assessment of water resource options in a stakeholder context

  • Designed specifically to be used in conjunction with outputs from the WEAP model and stakeholder processes to develop, weight and apply evaluation criteria to adaptation options

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MCA–WEAP: History in WEAP21

  • MCA-WEAP is a new Excel macros-based model, built off of NAPAssess, a tool developed by SEI for use by Sudan and Yemen in their NAPA processes

  • Now reshaped to focus exclusively on adaptation options around water – used so far in Netherlands Climate Assistance Program (NCAP) studies

    • ensure adequate stakeholder representation

    • Identify CC adaptation strategies

    • establish country-driven criteria to evaluate and prioritize

    • Make consensus-based recommendations for adaptation initiatives

  • Open source, and still a BETA version!

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MCA–WEAP: Capabilities in WEAP21

  • Streamlines the multi-criteria analysis process by:

    • Housing all relevant project information on a single platform

    • Supporting a transparent, user-friendly process for developing, weighting, and applying evaluation criteria

    • Producing a ranked set of alternatives

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MCA–WEAP: Steps in WEAP21

  • Assess key vulnerability

  • Identify key stakeholders

  • Identify potential adaptation strategies

  • Develop stakeholder-driven evaluation criteria to determine trade-offs

  • Assign weights to criteria

  • Prioritize adaptation options for best meeting the needs of those most vulnerable

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Licensing WEAP in WEAP21

  • Go to and register for a new license (free for government, university, and non-profit organizations in developing countries)

  • Register WEAP under Help menu and select “Register WEAP”