Strategic investment pathways for resilient water systems
Water infrastructure investments are typically capital-intensive and long-lived, involving significant costs and benefits. Their performance over operational lifetimes is highly dependent on the vagaries of the hydrological cycle and subject to the risks and uncertainties associated with climate change. The challenge is to make the best use of scarce financial resources to deliver desired water services in the context of these complicating factors. Ideally, planning for water-related investments should be robust to known hazards and flexible to adapt to an uncertain future. This paper presents a conceptual and analytical framework to sequence water-related investments along “Strategic Investment Pathways”. This approach considers a range of diverse investments over multiple scenarios and evaluates options relative to stakeholder-defined goals. It explicitly considers key dynamic processes, interdependencies and feedbacks within the water system. The aim is to inform investment decisions that contribute to water system resilience through effective and adaptive management over time.