JournalJournal at American Water Works Association 107:2, Volume 107, Number 2, February 2015, ISSN 2164-4535.
Because water supply and demand face equally uncertain futures, a strategy that considers their relationship and anticipates a range of possible future scenarios for these two fundamental aspects of water use might be the wisest approach for water resource managers.
Uncertainty has been a driving factor in water resource planning for several decades, particularly in arid regions and in those with a high degree of interannual variability in precipitation.
In the last few decades, anticipatory governance has emerged as an approach for planning under conditions of high uncertainty.
In shifting from a predict-and-plan approach, water resource managers are anticipating a wide range of futures, developing response strategies, and adapting to anticipated changes as needed.
The uncertainty of water supply has been the primary focus of such efforts primarily because of the potential for long-term drought and climate change.
Until recently, water-demand estimating and forecasting have been viewed with greater certainty than water supply, with a focus on revenue projections, infrastructure capacity planning, and how demand can be reduced in the long term and quickly during drought.
However, water-demand estimating and forecasting have high levels of uncertainty, particularly in the longer time frame, and thus can also benefit from anticipatory governance. Integrated water resource planning is an approach that brings the uncertainty of water demand and supply into a common anticipatory governance framework.
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