Many water resource systems have been designed assuming that the statistical characteristics of future inflows are similar to those of the historical record. This assumption is no longer valid due to large-scale changes in the global climate, potentially causing declines in water resource system performance, or even complete system failure. Upgrading system infrastructure to cope with climate change can require substantial financial outlay, so it might be preferable to optimize existing system performance when possible. This paper builds on decision scaling theory by proposing a bottom-up approach to designing optimal feedback control policies for a water system exposed to a changing climate. This approach not only describes optimal operational policies for a range of potential climatic changes but also enables an assessment of a system's upper limit of its operational adaptive capacity, beyond which upgrades to infrastructure become unavoidable. The approach is illustrated using the Lake Como system in Northern Italy—a regulated system with a complex relationship between climate and system performance. By optimizing system operation under different hydrometeorological states, it is shown that the system can continue to meet its minimum performance requirements for more than three times as many states as it can under current operations. Importantly, a single management policy, no matter how robust, cannot fully utilize existing infrastructure as effectively as an ensemble of flexible management policies that are updated as the climate changes.

A bottom-up approach to identifying the maximum operational adaptive capacity of water resource systems to a changing climate

GIULIANI, MATTEO;CASTELLETTI, ANDREA FRANCESCO
2016

Abstract

Many water resource systems have been designed assuming that the statistical characteristics of future inflows are similar to those of the historical record. This assumption is no longer valid due to large-scale changes in the global climate, potentially causing declines in water resource system performance, or even complete system failure. Upgrading system infrastructure to cope with climate change can require substantial financial outlay, so it might be preferable to optimize existing system performance when possible. This paper builds on decision scaling theory by proposing a bottom-up approach to designing optimal feedback control policies for a water system exposed to a changing climate. This approach not only describes optimal operational policies for a range of potential climatic changes but also enables an assessment of a system's upper limit of its operational adaptive capacity, beyond which upgrades to infrastructure become unavoidable. The approach is illustrated using the Lake Como system in Northern Italy—a regulated system with a complex relationship between climate and system performance. By optimizing system operation under different hydrometeorological states, it is shown that the system can continue to meet its minimum performance requirements for more than three times as many states as it can under current operations. Importantly, a single management policy, no matter how robust, cannot fully utilize existing infrastructure as effectively as an ensemble of flexible management policies that are updated as the climate changes.
exposure space; formal optimization; operational adaptive capacity; scenario neutral impact assessment; water resource management
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11311/1003651
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