January 23, 2014

Category: News

Where: Department of Hydrology & Water Resources, Harshbarger 206

When: Wednesday, January 29, at 4:00 pm

Title: Assumptions, Extrapolations, and Outliers: Our Dysfunctional Dialogue over Water Supply and Demand

Abstract: The public believes we’re on the verge of running out. The east coast press declares Maricopa County cities to be the least sustainable in the world. But Arizona’s water managers think we’re better off than most western cities, and our municipal providers currently are vexed more by “too much” conservation, resulting in demand dropping and revenues dropping faster. “Climatic stationarity is dead,” we’re told, and we brace for unknown supply impacts. Yet, on the demand side, stationarity seems alive, as we continue to plan based on old, discredited assumptions. We abandoned projections, first for forecasts, now for scenarios, thereby better defined our uncertainty and confusion. But we are still beset by dog-hair demand curves and black swans and the basic challenge remains: How do we recalibrate our baseline assumptions and change the way we plan for the future?

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