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Water 2017, 9(8), 591; https://doi.org/10.3390/w9080591

Decision-Making Methodology for Risk Management Applied to Imja Lake in Nepal

Department of Civil Architectural and Environmental Engineering, University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX 78712, USA
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Received: 8 June 2017 / Revised: 2 August 2017 / Accepted: 2 August 2017 / Published: 8 August 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Global Warming Impacts on Mountain Glaciers and Communities)
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Abstract

Glacial retreat causes the formation of glacier lakes with the potential of producing glacial lake outburst floods (GLOFs). Imja Lake in Nepal is considered at risk for a GLOF. Communities in the path of a potential Imja GLOF are implementing adaptation projects, yet no quantitative data or guidance is available to understand the benefits of these projects or how to weigh benefits against the cost of implementation. We develop and demonstrate a decision-making methodology for GLOF risk management, incorporating available scientific information and uncertainty. The methodology consists of (1) identifying flooding scenarios, (2) evaluating scenario consequences, and (3) performing an economic analysis of proposed adaptation projects. The methodology is applied to assess benefits in Dingboche of lowering Imja Lake by 3, 10 and 20 m. The results show that the baseline case (no lake lowering) has the lowest expected cost because of low valuation of agricultural land and homes in the literature. Nonetheless, the result is sensitive to changes in the analysis variables. We also found that lowering the lake by 10 or 20 m is efficient according only to the methodology used here; however, considering only direct economic damages and literature cost estimates, the costs outweigh the benefits for these projects. View Full-Text
Keywords: glacial lake outburst flood; risk management; decision making; Imja Lake; data envelopment analysis; decision analysis glacial lake outburst flood; risk management; decision making; Imja Lake; data envelopment analysis; decision analysis
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Cuellar, A.D.; McKinney, D.C. Decision-Making Methodology for Risk Management Applied to Imja Lake in Nepal. Water 2017, 9, 591.

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