Water 2012, 4(4), 848-868; doi:10.3390/w4040848
Article

Scenario Planning to Address Critical Uncertainties for Robust and Resilient Water–Wastewater Infrastructures under Conditions of Water Scarcity and Rapid Development

1 Udall Center for Studies in Public Policy, The University of Arizona, 803 East 1st Street, Tucson, AZ 85719, USA 2 School of Geography & Development, The University of Arizona, P.O. Box 210076, Tucson, AZ 85721, USA 3 School of Landscape Architecture and Planning, The University of Arizona, 803 East 1st Street, Tucson, AZ 85719, USA 4 SouthWest Water Resources Consulting, LLC, 2511 East 8th Street, Tucson, AZ 85716, USA 5 Department of Chemical and Environmental Engineering, The University of Arizona, 1133 East James E. Rogers Way, Harshbarger 108, Tucson, AZ 85721, USA 6 Department of Civil Engineering and Engineering Mechanics, The University of Arizona, PO Box 210072, Tucson, AZ 85721, USA
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 13 September 2012; in revised form: 9 October 2012 / Accepted: 29 October 2012 / Published: 5 November 2012
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Water Systems)
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Abstract: Ensuring water availability for multiple needs represents a sustainable development challenge globally. Rigid planning for fixed water supply and reuse targets with estimated demand growth and static assumptions of water availability can prove inflexible in responding to changing conditions. Formal methods to adaptively respond to these challenges are needed, particularly in regions with limited natural resources and/or where multiple uncertain forces can influence water-resource availability and supply reliability. This paper assesses the application of Scenario Planning in one such region—Tucson, Arizona, USA—over the coming 40 years, and highlights broader lessons for addressing complex interrelationships of water management, infrastructure development, and population growth. Planners from multiple jurisdictions and researchers identified ten key forces and prioritized three with the greatest uncertainty and the greatest impact for water and development planning: (1) changing demands based on potential future density, layout, and per capita water use/reuse; (2) adequacy of current water supplies to meet future demands; and (3) evolving public perceptions of water reuse including potential options to supplement potable water supplies. Detailed scenario modeling using GIS and infrastructure cost optimization is under development and is now beginning to produce results, to be discussed in future publications. The process has clearly demonstrated the value of Scenario Planning as a tool for bringing stakeholders into agreement over highly complex and historically divisive problems, and for prioritizing amongst diverse uncertainties. The paper concludes by characterizing possible outcomes for this case and draws lessons for other water scarce regions experiencing rapid development.
Keywords: scenario planning; sustainable development; robustness; resilience; water reuse; uncertainty; adaptive management

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MDPI and ACS Style

Scott, C.A.; Bailey, C.J.; Marra, R.P.; Woods, G.J.; Ormerod, K.J.; Lansey, K. Scenario Planning to Address Critical Uncertainties for Robust and Resilient Water–Wastewater Infrastructures under Conditions of Water Scarcity and Rapid Development. Water 2012, 4, 848-868.

AMA Style

Scott CA, Bailey CJ, Marra RP, Woods GJ, Ormerod KJ, Lansey K. Scenario Planning to Address Critical Uncertainties for Robust and Resilient Water–Wastewater Infrastructures under Conditions of Water Scarcity and Rapid Development. Water. 2012; 4(4):848-868.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Scott, Christopher A.; Bailey, Christopher J.; Marra, Ralph P.; Woods, Gwendolyn J.; Ormerod, Kerri Jean; Lansey, Kevin. 2012. "Scenario Planning to Address Critical Uncertainties for Robust and Resilient Water–Wastewater Infrastructures under Conditions of Water Scarcity and Rapid Development." Water 4, no. 4: 848-868.

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