Multidimensional Risk Management for the Water Sector
Katherine and Arthur Sehlin Memorial Lecture with Patrick Ray, Environmental Engineering, University of Cincinnati
and 2023 J.S. Braun/Braun Intertec Visiting Professor at the University of Minnesota
Adaptation to climate change is expensive and benefits are not guaranteed. We do not know what amount of greenhouse gases will be emitted by the current generation, nor the impacts the resultant warming will have on our water, agricultural, energy, ecological, and urban systems. We have difficult decisions to make and must not allow uncertainty to paralyze progress toward a better world. Patrick Ray applies concepts of deep uncertainty to example challenges. His aim is to improve decision confidence built on cost-effectiveness, sustainability, equity, and resilience through the critical tool of trade-off analysis. The product must be decision-relevant and interpretable by those who must implement the findings. We have never before had such an opportunity to derive insights from global observations, nor a bigger challenge of complex multidimensionality. Ray shares incremental victories in the realm of water resources decision science and offers a vision for the next decade of needed research.
Patrick Ray is an Associate Professor of Environmental Engineering at the University of Cincinnati and currently serves as a 2023 J.S. Braun/Braun Intertec Visiting Professor at the University of Minnesota. He specializes in the development and application of numerical models of the integrated human-hydrologic system for risk management under the uncertainty of climate (and other) change. Ray was the lead author of the World Bank’s 2015 Decision Tree for Confronting Climate Uncertainty in Water Resources Planning and Project Design, and a primary scientific contributor to the International Hydropower Association’s 2019 Climate Resilience Guide and the California Department of Water Resources’ 2019 Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment. In 2022, Ray served as the Climate Resilience Lead for the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa. He has been a Fulbright Fellow, an NSF Graduate Research Fellow, and was recognized in 2018 as the American Water Resources Association’s A. Ivan Johnson Outstanding Young Professional.