Abstract for: Integrating risk analysis with systems analysis - Practitioner developments in risk management for water security and planning

Despite high stakes and their cross-sectoral, multi-dimensional character, risk analyses for critical public services like drinking water are commonly based on semi-linear and static methodologies, which may result in the under-identification of indirect or systemic risks. Drawing from an ongoing practical consultancy project in public water management and planning involving core stakeholders and a broad range of experts, this presentation explores the application of qualitative systems analysis as a first step for identification and assessment of multidimensional risks found in the delivery of public services. More specifically we present a set of quality-assured meta-models identifying the key factors determining sub-regional water security, including major drivers and limitations for sustaining a safe and reliable drinking water supply, and their causal relations to current and future risks at multiple topical, temporal and spatial scales. Aside from outcomes to date, we reflect on the perceived utility of such an approach contra traditional risk-assessment approaches including indirect effects on client/stakeholder teams, and key constraints faced in applying our methodology thus far. Moreover, we outline our anticipated next steps in developing an applied analytical tool and a management flight simulator allowing for the deeper exploration and improved communication of risks in public water planning.