Groupe d’études et de recherche en analyse des décisions

Defining and measuring resilience in complex water resources systems. A Middle Eastern example

Charles Rougé Cornell University, États-Unis

Climatic, demographic, technological, and environmental change exert a growing pressure on many water resources systems. Understanding how to withstand this pressure – how to be resilient to it – is a prerequisite to implementing relevant adaptation strategies. Two broad challenges stand in the way. On one hand, defining resilience within a water resources system is a “wicked” problem, i.e., it is difficult to formulate, let alone solve. On the other hand, interrelated scales and inter-sectoral feedbacks in water systems are compounded by limitations in data availability and computational tractability. This seminar illustrates these two challenges through the assessment of water allocation in the conflict-stricken Tigris- Euphrates basin. After discussing the different notions of resilience for the countries involved, this presentation details how hydro-economic analysis highlights the vulnerability of downstream countries – Syria and Iraq – to continued development and climate change. This assessment involves stochastic dual dynamic programming (SDDP), a computationally inexpensive solution strategy fit for the optimization of large-scale systems, and which had to be adapted to data-scarce cases such as this one. This presentation concludes on potential research directions for achieving a better understanding of these resilience mechanisms in the face of climatic and / or anthropic perturbations.

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