Systems Thinking
for Water Sustainability:
Approaches for a
Climate-Changed World
Kathy Freas, Ph. D.
One Water Leadership...
This Afternoon
• A few thoughts about systems
• How systems approaches are applicable to water sustainability
and climate ...
4
If you manage resources for sustainability,
you manage a system
How are systems thinking and water sustainability linked?
ASCE: Civil Engineers in Sustainable Development:
—Promote multi...
13
Why is a systems approach so important now?
Climate change increases
uncertainty,
reduces resilience, and
threatens sustainability
for virtually all systems
Test and
monitor
Reassess
results and
changing
conditions
Identify
components
of the system
ID how they
are inter-
related...
Systems Planning Enhances
Water Sustainability in a Climate-Changed World
• Climate Change and Population Growth Effects
o...
17
Scope of the Study
NYCDEP Population and Climate Change
• Consistent with NYC’s integrated climate
change and sustainab...
Two Future Climate Change Scenarios
• Central Estimate: midpoint of future
climate projections based on City 2009
report
•...
Plausible, Yet Rare … Hurricane Sandy
• Precautionary Estimate: Hurricane Sandy — that “plausible, yet
rare event--where e...
Systems Analyses Include All Flood Pathways
and Equipment Inventory
Systems Assessment Results in City-wide Adaptation Plan
• Evaluation of specific climate risks for pilot watershed
and WW ...
Systems Thinking for Sustainable Basin Management
A systems approach for the climate-changed future
of the Colorado River ...
Reclamation and Stakeholders Partner for Basin Solutions
• 40 million people affected by
Colorado River System
(M&I, agric...
Develop
Uncertainty
Approach
Colorado River Basin Study Integrated Systems Thinking
for Sustainable Basin Management
Asses...
Study included assessment of multiple plausible scenarios and
climate projections
25
Precipitation
Change(%Δ)
2025 2055 20...
Bottom Line: Gap in Projected Supply and Demand
Options to Address Future Water Sustainability and Reduce
Supply-Demand Gaps
“Next Steps” for CRBS
• Options further categorized
• Municipal and Industrial Conservation and Reuse
• Agriculture Conser...
Summary: Systems Thinking Can Enhance Water Sustainability in
the Face of Climate Change
• Includes and integrates system ...
Sustainable Water Management: Kathy Freas
Sustainable Water Management: Kathy Freas
Sustainable Water Management: Kathy Freas
Sustainable Water Management: Kathy Freas
Sustainable Water Management: Kathy Freas
Sustainable Water Management: Kathy Freas
Sustainable Water Management: Kathy Freas
Sustainable Water Management: Kathy Freas
Sustainable Water Management: Kathy Freas
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Sustainable Water Management: Kathy Freas

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Sustainable Water Management: Kathy Freas

  1. 1. Systems Thinking for Water Sustainability: Approaches for a Climate-Changed World Kathy Freas, Ph. D. One Water Leadership Summit 24 September 2013
  2. 2. This Afternoon • A few thoughts about systems • How systems approaches are applicable to water sustainability and climate change • A couple of examples of how systems approaches are being applied to enhance water and other resources sustainability in the face of climate change 3
  3. 3. 4 If you manage resources for sustainability, you manage a system
  4. 4. How are systems thinking and water sustainability linked? ASCE: Civil Engineers in Sustainable Development: —Promote multidisciplinary, whole system, integrated and multi-objective goals in all phases of project planning, design, construction, operations, and decommissioning.
  5. 5. 13 Why is a systems approach so important now?
  6. 6. Climate change increases uncertainty, reduces resilience, and threatens sustainability for virtually all systems
  7. 7. Test and monitor Reassess results and changing conditions Identify components of the system ID how they are inter- related ID how they are currently affected by climate 2 ID plausible futures Determine how climate is projected to change for the system Use best practices and tools 3 ID how climate change will affect climate- sensitive system components and interactions 4 Identify adaptation options, develop portfolios, prioritize “Implement adaptation options” 5 6 A Systems Approach for Water Sustainability in the Face of Climate Identify the scale of system in question Frame the sustainability challenge and goals Include stakeholders 1 How do we do systems planning in the face of a changing climate?
  8. 8. Systems Planning Enhances Water Sustainability in a Climate-Changed World • Climate Change and Population Growth Effects on NYC Sewer and Wastewater Systems NYCDEP • Colorado River Basin Supply and Demand Study US Bureau of Reclamation 16
  9. 9. 17 Scope of the Study NYCDEP Population and Climate Change • Consistent with NYC’s integrated climate change and sustainability planning • Define baseline and future conditions • Analyze vulnerability, initially for • Hunts Point WWTP • Flushing Bay Watershed • Identify and assess adaptation options • Work with City and stakeholders to develop citywide framework for adaptation
  10. 10. Two Future Climate Change Scenarios • Central Estimate: midpoint of future climate projections based on City 2009 report • Precautionary Estimate: a plausible, yet rare estimate of change — useful for undertaking sensitivity analyses and examining impact at locations where rainfall increases might cause major problemsNew York City Panel on Climate Change: Climate Risk Information. Feb. 2009.
  11. 11. Plausible, Yet Rare … Hurricane Sandy • Precautionary Estimate: Hurricane Sandy — that “plausible, yet rare event--where extremes might cause major problems” 19 29th October 2012 • Storm surge approximately 14 feet above mean low water • Losses estimated at $19 billion • 1.6 billion gallons of partially or untreated sewage leaked into waterways NYCDEP extended the assessment to include all watersheds, pump stations and WWTPs and develop adaptations and cost for a system-wide Adaptation Plan
  12. 12. Systems Analyses Include All Flood Pathways and Equipment Inventory
  13. 13. Systems Assessment Results in City-wide Adaptation Plan • Evaluation of specific climate risks for pilot watershed and WW facilities for two plausible climate scenarios • Plus Hurricane Sandy • Plus evaluations of specific climate risks for all, watersheds, pump stations and WWTPs • Plus cost evaluations ...Leading to a System-wide Adaptation Plan
  14. 14. Systems Thinking for Sustainable Basin Management A systems approach for the climate-changed future of the Colorado River Basin NPS Photograph
  15. 15. Reclamation and Stakeholders Partner for Basin Solutions • 40 million people affected by Colorado River System (M&I, agriculture, hydropower, Native American tribes and communities, ecosystems, recreation) • Rapidly growing, semi-arid to arid region – 14 years of drought • WaterSmart — UCR and LCR work with 7 States • Increasing uncertainty — climate risk creates water supply and demand imbalances
  16. 16. Develop Uncertainty Approach Colorado River Basin Study Integrated Systems Thinking for Sustainable Basin Management Assess Current and Future Supply for M&I, Energy, Ag, Tribes, Ecosystems, Recreation PHASE 1 Water Supply Assessment Assess Current and Future Demand for M&I, Energy, Ag, Tribes, Ecosystems, Recreation Develop Reliability Metrics Develop, Evaluate, and Refine Opportunities Assess System Reliability Implement, Measure, and Adapt for a Sustainable CRB PHASE 4 Opportunities and Adaptive Management PHASE 3 Systems Performance Measures PHASE 2 Water Demand Assessment Develop Plausible Future Scenarios Integrated Stakeholder Engagement 2010 Plan of Action: Sustainable Supplies through 2060
  17. 17. Study included assessment of multiple plausible scenarios and climate projections 25 Precipitation Change(%Δ) 2025 2055 2080 Temperature Change(ΔC) 2025 2055 2080 2.50 20552025 2080
  18. 18. Bottom Line: Gap in Projected Supply and Demand
  19. 19. Options to Address Future Water Sustainability and Reduce Supply-Demand Gaps
  20. 20. “Next Steps” for CRBS • Options further categorized • Municipal and Industrial Conservation and Reuse • Agriculture Conservation and Water Transfers • Environmental Flows and Recreational Flows • Each category of options has an associated Work Group comprising Reclamation, States, Tribes, and other stakeholders that will review, prioritize, and look for opportunities to implement options that support long-term sustainable resources (water, energy, ecosystems, recreation and agriculture) for the Colorado River Basin • For the whole story please visit: www.usbr.gov/lc/region/programs/crbstudy/finalreport/ 28
  21. 21. Summary: Systems Thinking Can Enhance Water Sustainability in the Face of Climate Change • Includes and integrates system stakeholder • Identifies appropriate system scale, interconnections, and system sustainability goals • Identifies and describes future uncertainties and plausible climate change scenarios and effects on the system • Identifies measures for sustainable system function • Develops alternative solutions sets to achieve the goals and measures • Assesses ability of alternatives to meet goals and measures • Enhances and integrates the value of sustainability measures that apply to component projects of the system 29

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