Geographia Polonica (1998) vol. 71

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Uncertainty in water management

Janusz Żelaziński

Geographia Polonica (1998) vol. 71, pp. 109-119

Abstract

Water management is choice in face of bounded uncertainty (Shackle 1961). Uncertainty may be limited (e.g. by improving scenarios for climate change), but the hope that it might be eliminated is an illusion. However, as a failure to take account of uncertainty leads to social, economic and ecological damage, there is a need for full use to be made of appropriate theories and the measures of uncertainty based on them. The paper thus presents some theories, as well as three principles of uncertainty, namely: of the minimum and maximum of uncertainty and of its immutability. Exam-ples are cited of the undesirable consequences of a failure to heed these principles. Methods of rational decisionmaking in conditions of uncertainty are presented, while methodological considerations are supported by examples of applications in water management.

Keywords: uncertainty, water management, decisionmaking, risk

Janusz Żelaziński, Institute of Meteorology and Water Management ul. Podleśna 61, 01-673 Warszawa, Poland