Planning & Management

Oral

393802 - Conflicts in Coalitions: A Stability Analysis of Robust Multi-City Regional Water Supply Portfolios

Wednesday, June 6
8:30 AM - 10:00 AM
Location: Northstar B
Co-Authors: Bernardo Trindade, Ithaca, NY – Cornell University; Patrick Reed, Ithaca, NY – Cornell University; Greg Characklis, Chapel Hill, NC – University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Regional cooperation among water utilities can improve the robustness of urban water supply portfolios to deeply uncertain future conditions such as those caused by climate change or population growth. Coordination mechanisms such as water transfers, coordinated demand management, and shared infrastructure, can improve the efficiency of resource allocation and delay the need for new infrastructure investments. Regionalization does however come at a cost. Regionally coordinated water supply plans may be vulnerable to any emerging instabilities in the regional coalition. If one or more regional actors does not cooperate or follow the required regional actions in a time of crisis, the overall system performance may degrade. Furthermore, when crafting regional water supply portfolios, decision makers must choose a framework for measuring the performance of regional policies based on the evaluation of the objective values for each individual actor. Regional evaluations may inherently favor one actor’s interests over those of another. This work focuses on four interconnected water utilities in the Research Triangle region of North Carolina for which robust regional water supply portfolios have previously been designed using multi-objective optimization to maximize the robustness of the worst performing utility across several objectives. This study 1) examines the sensitivity of portfolio performance to deviations from prescribed actions by individual utilities, 2) quantifies the implications of the regional formulation used to evaluate robustness for the portfolio performance of each individual utility and 3) elucidates the inherent regional tensions and conflicts that exist between utilities under this regionalization scheme through visual diagnostics of the system under simulated drought scenarios. Results of this analysis will help inform the creation of future regional water supply portfolios and provide insight into the nature of multi-actor water supply systems.

David Gold

Graduate Student
Cornell University

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