Selection of Water-Supply Projects Under Drought

Mark A. Ridgley

DOI: 10.2190/H0NC-4UH9-3DBC-460T


Proposed water-supply projects may be evaluated with respect to one or more objectives and in the context of one or more operating environments. Such evaluation is commonly considered a technical exercise and reserved for technical specialists. However, since preferences and judgment are required to identify and weigh relevant objectives and to assess the characteristics and likelihoods of different possible environments, project evaluation is unavoidably value-laden and thus should not be considered an exclusively technical enterprise. This article presents an approach to incorporating such values and judgments in the evaluation and selection of water-supply projects under drought conditions. The approach has two main parts. First, a multi-attribute value model is used to measure the attractiveness of candidate projects with respect to different objectives and scenarios regarding drought and water demand. The second part employs these measures in an optimization model to identify the correspondingly best set of projects. An example, using the Analytic Hierarchy Process and integer programming for the two tasks, illustrates the procedure and demonstrates the dependence of the projects selected on the values and judgments used.

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