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Sustainable water management under future uncertainty with eco-engineering decision scaling

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journal contribution
posted on 2015-10-14, 13:52 authored by N. LeRoy Poff, Casey M. Brown, Theodore E. Grantham, John H. Matthews, Margaret A. Palmer, Caitlin M. Spence, Robert WilbyRobert Wilby, Marjolijn Haasnoot, Guillermo F. Mendoza, Kathleen C. Dominique, Andres Baeza
Managing freshwater resources sustainably under climatic uncertainty poses novel challenges. Rehabilitation of aging infrastructure and the construction of new dams are viewed as solutions to manage climate risk, but attaining the broader goal of freshwater sustainability will require expansion of the water resources management paradigm beyond narrow economic criteria to include socially‐valued ecosystem functions and services. We introduce a new decision framework, called Eco‐engineering decision scaling (EEDS) that explicitly and quantitatively explores tradeoffs in stakeholder‐defined engineering and ecological performance metrics across a range of management actions and future climate states. We illustrate its potential application through a hypothetical case study of the Iowa River USA. EEDS holds promise as a powerful tool for operationalizing freshwater sustainability through incorporation of ecological vulnerability in the design and operation of resilient infrastructure.



  • Social Sciences


  • Geography and Environment

Published in

Nature Climate Change


POFF, N.L. ... et al, 2016. Sustainable water management under future uncertainty with eco-engineering decision scaling. Nature Climate Change, 6(1), pp.25-34.


Nature Publishing Group


  • AM (Accepted Manuscript)

Publisher statement

This work is made available according to the conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) licence. Full details of this licence are available at: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/

Publication date



The published version of this paper can be found at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nclimate2765






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