Incorporating Potential Severity into Vulnerability Assessment of Water Supply Systems Under Climate Change Conditions

Document Type



In response to climate change, vulnerability assessment of water resources systems is typically performed based on quantifying the severity of the failure. This paper introduces an approach to assess vulnerability that incorporates a set of new factors. The method is demonstrated with a case study of a reservoir system in Salt Lake City using an integrated modeling framework composed of a hydrologic model and a systems model driven by temperature and precipitation data for a 30-year historical (1981–2010) period. The climate of the selected future (2036–2065) simulation periods were represented by five combinations of warm or hot, wet or dry, and central tendency projections derived from the World Climate Research Programme’s (WCRP’s) Coupled Model Intercomparison Project Phase 5. The results of the analysis illustrate that basing vulnerability on severity alone may lead to an incorrect quantification of the system vulnerability. In this study, a typical vulnerability metric (severity) incorrectly provides low magnitudes under the projected future warm-wet climate condition. The proposed new metric correctly indicates the vulnerability to be high because it accounts for additional factors. To further explore the new factors, a sensitivity analysis (SA) was performed to show the impact and importance of the factors on the vulnerability of the system under different climate conditions. The new metric provides a comprehensive representation of system vulnerability under climate change scenarios, which can help decision makers and stakeholders evaluate system operation and infrastructure changes for climate adaptation. DOI: 10.1061/ (ASCE)WR.1943-5452.0000579. © 2015 American Society of Civil Engineers.

APA Citation

Goharian, E., Burian, S. J., Bardsley, T., & Strong, C. (2016). Incorporating Potential Severity into Vulnerability Assessment of Water Supply Systems under Climate Change Conditions. Journal of Water Resources Planning and Management, 142(2), 04015051.