Question 3: Water Management
You work with water managers in Washington State who are in charge of deciding the timing and amount of water releases from a reservoir. The possible La Ni?a event this year could impact water availability in the region, and you are monitoring resources here. Current water levels are within the normal range of historic levels. The reservoir is in a dry area. It is recharged in summer by snowmelt from the mountains.
Multiple parties benefit from releasing water at different times:
? Flood control authorities favor releases in the spring, since they make room for summer inflow into the reservoir from snowmelt.
? The owners and managers of farms in the valley favor releases in the summer, since they use the water to irrigate crops.
? The hydropower authorities want some releases throughout the year to produce electricity, but they want more in the summer to meet the peak demand for air conditioning.
? The local residents like water levels to be constant in the summer for recreational use at the reservoir, for swimming and boating.
? The staff of the wildlife agencies and the people who run tour companies for fly fishermen prefer steady releases throughout the year to maintain cool water temperatures for the fish.
The team is considering releasing more water to hydropower in late summer (September) to avoid purchasing electricity from a coal-fired power plant. You work for a small consulting firm, and are bidding to conduct a cost benefit analysis for this decision. Write a 500 to 750-word memo to the water manager, indicating your proposed analysis. Consider the following questions:
? Who are the stakeholders in this watershed?
? What benefits need to be calculated?
? What costs need to be calculated?
? What risk and/or uncertainty calculations should be included in your analysis?
? How would forecast information (near and long-term) be helpful in this decision?
? What aspects of this decision cannot be captured by a cost benefit analysis?
? You know a powerful local politician is an avid fly fisherman. Can this be incorporated in your cost benefit analysis? How could this impact the water manager?s decision?
For guidance on writing a memo, review the material in this link https://dspace.mit.edu/bitstream/handle/1721.1/36824/11-479Spring-2004/NR/rdonlyres/Urban-Studies-and-Planning/11-479Spring-2004/9CE4ACA2-EC3D-4C1D-91CC-27971E27DCF5/0/pmwriting.pdf?
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