Overview of AWARE: A Software Tool for Balancing Power and Nonpower Values in Water Resource Planning

by Jennie S. Rice, Decision Focus Inc,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Risk-Based Decision Making in Water Resources V


Decision Focus Incorporated has developed a software tool for the Electric Power Research Institute to help utilities and other water resource planners examine the social trade-offs between the power and nonpower values of a water resource. AWARE, the methodology for the allocation of water resources, evaluates the power and nonpower impacts of water resource planning alternatives from a quantitative perspective. The methodology combines cost-benefit analysis, resource economics, and decision analysis techniques to determine the net social value of a user-defined set of alternatives. AWARE has a user-friendly interface and pull-down menus that guide the user through the steps in the analysis: identifying alternatives (e.g., minimum flows, operating changes, plant improvements, recreational access improvement, etc.); defining power and nonpower impacts (e.g., changes in energy, capacity, fish and wildlife populations, recreation, etc.); and performing the decision analysis calculations. AWARE performs a weekly simulation of hydro plant output, and ranges of uncertainty may be included for all variables (e.g., energy value, percent impact on fish population, percent change in fishing pressure, etc.). AWARE also includes a 500-record database of nonpower values collected from numerous studies around the U.S. that may be used to help estimate social values (e.g., the value of a day of fishing) in the absence of site-specific data. The results may be presented both in terms of dollar values (i.e., net present value) and unit impacts (e.g., change in number of fishing days per year). While originally developed to assist with hydro relicensing issues, the methodology is applicable to water resource planning decisions in general.

Subject Headings: Water resources | Hydro power | Computer software | Electric power | Power plants | Electrical equipment | Social factors | Resource allocation

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