2018 – Planning for Exceedance in a Changing World: Incorporating Climate Variability and Uncertainty into a Framework for Dam Design and Management

Adam Hosking, Craig Clifton, Kelly Maslin, & Peter von Lany

In the face of potential future climate change, it is important that reservoir asset owners and operators consider what such change could mean for the integrity and operations of their assets. This must be developed as an integral part of risk-based management, with a systematic consideration of the uncertain future implications of climate change and their potential consequences.

Systematic assessment of the consequences of potential climate related events/loads should be included as an integral component of a risk-based approach to dam safety management. The magnitude of potential consequences can be used to inform the prioritisation and management responses to these conditions, regardless of probability of occurrence. Designing to accommodate exceedance events is an important response in this process.

The adaptive management process provides a framework within which the implications of uncertain future conditions and risks can be systematically identified and managed, forming the basis of agreeing a defined ‘pathway’ for monitoring and implementation of management actions. The concept of Adaptation Pathways can be utilised for reservoir adaptation, setting out the long-term risk informed process to manage operations and risks.

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