How can risk be systematically and transparently incorporated into long-term planning to respond to drought impacts while ensuring fair and equitable water access?
ISF has collaborated with utilities around the world to develop appropriate institutional arrangements and economic business cases for least-cost drought responses. These include temporary restrictions, efficiency programs and smaller incremental supply side options, that avoid locking in large, lumpy assets.
Review of the Metropolitan Water Plan
A key project, the Review of the Metropolitan Water Plan conducted with ACIL Tasman, reviewed the existing water plan and developed a new strategy to provide water security during extreme drought, whilst taking into consideration long-term, least-cost planning. Innovative adaptive management options were explored including large-scale efficiency programs, smaller scale incremental supply side options and real options analysis.
Managing drought: learning from Australia
Lessons learned during Australia’s worst drought on record are helping California and Brazil through their own water crises. ISF’s detailed knowledge of drought planning and water efficiency in Australia has been collated with other expertise for US and Brazilian water planners in the 2016 report Managing Drought: Learning from Australia
Options assessment framework
Our options assessment framework was crucial in the development of a 50-year strategy for Melbourne's water resources. The strategy considered a wide range of future uncertainties such as climate, population growth, economic activities and unexpected shocks.
The framework specifically provides an integrated, practical process that guides strategic planning and project-level decisions in the uncertain environment in which most water providers operate. It recognises the need for a generational shift away from conventional deterministic planning towards more flexible and adaptive planning and management.
It also showed that an incremental approach, using decentralised options and demand-side management, can be financially better than reacting to changes with last-minute centralised systems.
ISF’s options assessment framework and process, developed for the Planning for Resilient Water Systems – Methods for Decision Making project, won the Smart Water Fund’s 2012 Service Provider Innovation Award.