Abstract for: A Risk-based Evaluation of Policies for Sustainable Water System Design in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

Stakeholders in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia are concerned about the sustainability of the country’s water system. The Ninth Development Plan (2009-2014) formulates a number of policy directives to make the water system more sustainable. Assessing whether these policies can improve the degree of sustainability of the water system is a challenge because it is linked with many economic sectors, and characterized by a high degree of uncertainty. Conventional techniques of assessing water system performance do not reveal system wide impacts of water system policies, either on the supply- or the demand-side. This paper presents an approach and some preliminary results in evaluating policies to assess their degree of sustainability. A multi-generational comprehensive wealth framework captures the notion of sustainability across the economy, which the analysis applies partially for water system assessment. By including uncertainty formulations in a system dynamics model, the analysis provides a risk-based view of water system performance showing that policy impacts under uncertainty are likely to be very different than those expected in deterministic planning scenarios.