Over the past century, communities have invested heavily in large-scale centralized engineered solutions, such as dams, aqueducts, pipes and pumps, to prevent floods and to enhance water supply reliability and security, fueling unprecedented and sometimes unsustainable socio-economic growth. These infrastructure networks have been designed and governed under the assumption of abundance and stationarity, believing that by harnessing nature we could deliver unlimited amounts of water to various sectors. There was limited accounting for hydroclimatic and human dynamics uncertainties in managing these complex infrastructure systems.
While these traditional systems have worked for most of the past century, they are now under increasing pressure due to intensified climatic variability, aging and degradation, population growth, urbanization, and shifting societal and economic priorities. In response to some of these emerging water challenges, many communities are now considering decentralized and multi-benefit water management solutions such as water recycling and reuse, green infrastructure, groundwater banking, smart water solutions, and demand management measures to combat water scarcity and enhance system-wide resiliency. As these solutions slowly disrupt our infrastructure model, a new generation of decision support tools and hydrologic models are needed which directly incorporate human and environmental complexity in order to more accurately assess water demand and infrastructure needs. This seminar will introduce a portfolio of innovative water management tools that harness new data sources to assess both evolving water demand trends and modern supply regimes. These tools offer a set of holistic solutions that aim to inform the policy and decision making process while addressing the complexity of hydrologic, socio-economic and governance dynamics surrounding water management issues.