Adaptive planning: a tool for times of uncertainty - The SourceAs ‘deep uncertainty’ becomes the norm for long-term water planning, the adap...Adaptive planning: a tool for times of uncertainty - The Source
As ‘deep uncertainty’ becomes the norm for long-term water planning, the adaptive planning that is needed requires new perspectives rather than just technology. Here, The Source shares practitioner insights from a recent IWA online panel discussion.
For professionals involved in long-term planning of water services infrastructure and lifecycle asset management, dealing with uncertainty is nothing new. However, it’s clear that traditional methods are unable to deliver the type of flexible plans that a new unpredictable world demands.
As was explored in a recent IWA online panel on ‘Adaptive Water Policy For Resilience’, large-scale and long-term interventions must be planned in the context of an increasingly unpredictable and severe climate, and plans could easily be disrupted by innovations in both the water and energy sectors, or even derailed by financial crises. Even the governance of water is evolving, with the drive to multi-sector water planning and formerly independent utilities forging tighter integrations. Through all this, plans will be under increased scrutiny as a result of societal expectations around environmental quality and the human right to water and sanitation for all.
Water professionals realise there is a need to adapt to meet these challenges. There is a need for policies that anticipate, rather than react to, change, and infrastructure that is designed to adapt, and perhaps be repurposed in the long term, as conditions change. With this in mind, Adaptive Planning and Adaption Pathways are among the tools being developed to respond to a more dynamic future.