Decision Making Under Uncertainty in the Water Sector
San Francisco Chapter Meeting: Speaker Thomas Chesnutt, President of A & N Technical Services, Inc.
May 22, 2020
Decisions involving uncertainty and risk are a standard occurrence in water resource management. Demand/sales models rely on uncertain information about future population, economic cycles, rates, passive conservation and weather. Decisions about the timing and size of capital investments, built on flawed estimates of future levels of demand and supply, can therefore be flawed. Similarly, uncertainty about future sales confounds financial planning. Because information about uncertainty and risk is seldom expressed in concrete terms, ambiguity abounds. Meanwhile, the effect of uncertainty on decisions tends to be downplayed at best and completely disregarded at worst. Accordingly, an adequate accounting for uncertainty and risk requires not only new analytic approaches, but advances in both the way analysts communicate with policy-makers and in the way policy makers communicate with each other.