Research Papers


A scenario planning approach to climate change adaptation in water management.

1. Malano H , Anshuman, George B, Davidson B, Pavelic P, and Kumar K , 2011

Adaptive and Integrated Water Management II (V), World Aqua Congress


The main difficulty in designing adaptation strategies for climate change is the wide range of cognitive (science), strategic (policy agendas) and institutional uncertainties that impinge on the evaluation of individual policies and which will eventuate over the life of the planning horizon. This is evidenced by the range of future climate predictions associated with various GCM models. Strategic and institutional uncertainties also arise because the impacts of climate change occur over a long horizon, while the political process ensures that governments only have a limited time frame within which to operate. In this study a combined Scenario Planning-Real Options approach is proposed to deal with problems of this nature. That is those that are characterised by high uncertainty and potential high risk consequences and require an adaptive and flexible approach to implementing a planning strategy. Scenario Planning is an approach that can accommodate uncertainty and complexity through a collaborative framework that aims to logically develop a set of plausible future scenarios and alternative responses to deal with them. Real Options is an approach that accommodates a flexible and adaptive strategy over the planning time horizon. Real Options Analysis permits planners and operators to incorporate new information as it becomes available and provide sufficient flexibility to adjust the strategy in the most economically and technically efficiency way. It also allows for an assessment of the costs and benefits of delaying or advancing an investment decision In this paper, a generalised conceptual framework for this integrated approach is presented. The framework is designed to respond to future climate change within a whole of river basin approach. The application of the framework will be illustrated through a case study focused on the Musi catchment in Andhra Pradesh, India, designed to examine water security strategies under climate change.


climate change, adaptation strategies, integrated water management, scenario planning