AbstractBottom-up methods for water resources modeling rely on acceptability thresholds to find, through a response surface, which deeply uncertain futures lead to system failure. They commonly treat water users as aggregate actors, which may preclude analysis of the equity impacts of interventions. This paper explores how aggregation choices for large groups of water users lead to different policy recommendations in response surface assessments. Two aggregation methods with varying parameters are considered: percentile satisfaction targets and generalized mean. A 2-dimensional stress-test assessment across groundwater availability and population is applied to household water supply in Jordan. The study compares six different policies covering supply enhancement and rebalancing, using a country-wide multi-agent model that characterizes households across socioeconomic strata. For different aggregation levels, policies are ordered by their associated robustness index. Results show that aggregation choices may modify response surfaces as much as policy changes and strongly determine policy preference. Modifying allocation rules can substantially reduce the disparity in household vulnerability. Preferences defined by aggregation intervals provide a finer understanding of trade-offs among water users and may improve deliberation over equity under deep uncertainty.
Published: November 4, 2022