Reversibility Measures for Sustainable Decisions

by Nick Fanai,
Donald H. Burn, (A.M.ASCE),

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: North American Water and Environment Congress & Destructive Water


Increasing stress on the environment and current norms of sustainable development have prompted the formalization of new approaches to decision making. This may be achieved through the integration of sustainability criteria into the project selection process. One of the criteria of relevance in this context is reversibility, the degree to which the anticipated and unanticipated impacts of a project can be mitigated. Impacts are identified under three broad categories found in the sustainable development literature: social, ecological, and economic. Specified characteristics of some impacts and direct measures of the severity of other impacts are used in a distance metric formulation to evaluate a reversibility index in each of the three categories. A combination of the three indexes gives an overall measure of reversibility for a given project.

Subject Headings: Sustainable development | Project management | Water resources | Decision making | Social factors | Mitigation and remediation | Metric systems

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