Decision dilemma in adapting stormwater systems to climate change: an MCDA approach
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Infrastructure assets require substantial capital investment to ensure long operational lifetimes. This imposes significant risk on local governments when considering that infrastructure is sensitive not only to the climate at the time of construction, but also to climate variations over the assets lifetime. The impacts of the 2011 Queensland flooding substantiate the risks that infrastructure could face and highlight the economic and social damage these types of events bring. Stormwater infrastructures are considered one of the most costly and vulnerable to changing climate. It is therefore critical that stormwater systems be adapted to withstand current as well as future impacts of natural hazards brought about by climate change. Adaptation however brings about a decision making problem involving multiple stakeholders, alternatives and criteria. Decision makers should be equipped with a decision-making tool to prioritise alternatives and develop flexible solutions capable of adjusting to regional variability regarding adaptation capacity, funding etc. In light of this, this study focuses on identifying and evaluating adaption alternatives to prepare stormwater systems for future climatic changes. To achieve this, a Multiple-criteria Decision approach is adopted involving multiple stakeholders across three coastal cities in South East Queensland. From three stakeholder groups, Engineering, Finance and Planning were identified. By consulting the stakeholder groups within the local governments of these three cities, a decision hierarchy was formed. A goal, five criteria and five alternatives were determined and data from the three stakeholder groups was analysed. Preliminary results indicated the highest priority alternative according to Engineering and Planning was ‘Modify Planning and Land Use Control Standards’; highest priority according to Finance was ‘Change Stormwater Infrastructure Design Standards’. Furthermore, it was observed that the prioritisation of alternatives varied noticeably between using the combined judgement of all participants opposed to using the judgements of individual stakeholder groups and regional councils.
Coast to Coast 2012 - Living on the Edge