Assessing Water Management Strategies in Data-Scarce Mountain Regions under Uncertain Climate and Socio-Economic Changes

R. Muñoz, S. A. Vaghefi, F. Drenkhan, M. J. Santos, D. Viviroli, V. Muccione, C. Huggel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Water management in mountainous regions faces significant challenges due to deep uncertainties arising from data scarcity, knowledge gaps, and the complex interplay of climate and socio-economic changes. While existing approaches focused on uncertainty reduction and water system optimization contribute to managing uncertainties, they often require probability distributions that can be difficult to obtain in data-scarce mountain regions. To address these challenges, we demonstrate the effectiveness of Exploratory Modeling and Analysis (EMA) in assessing water management strategies and identifying operational ranges that avoid future water scarcity. Through a case study in the complex and data-scarce Peruvian Andes, we employed EMA to run 12,000 simulations by 2050, incorporating deep uncertainties from climate and socio-economic scenarios, and hydrological modeling parameters. This analysis identified specific policy combinations demonstrating greater robustness across diverse scenarios and uncertainties. EMA explicitly identifies operational ranges of policies to avoid water scarcity but also highlights the conditions that might trigger policy failure. We also delve into the roles of the different factors used in EMA and their significance in water management applications. Our research illustrates that an exploratory hydrological modeling approach based on robust decision-making can foster a more informed decision-making process for long-term water adaptation in rapidly changing mountain regions under data scarcity and deep uncertainties.

Original languageEnglish
JournalWater Resources Management
StateAccepted/In press - 2024


  • Climate change
  • Deep uncertainty
  • Exploratory modeling and analysis
  • Social-ecological system
  • Socio-economic change
  • Water management


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