Sarah V. Whateley, Ph.D.

Water Resource Engineer

I develop analytical tools for assessing climate change risks to the water sector and design platforms for exploring resilient adaptation strategies. My research represents an innovative combination of water resources systems analysis, climate science and decision making under uncertainty. Preparing our water supply systems for changes in climate, climate extremes, and other changes associated with preferences for water use, food, and energy consumption will be a major societal challenge that I expect to address throughout my career.

My approach, broadly characterized as water resources systems analysis, employs a vulnerability-based framework informed by climate science to assess the risks of water supply systems to climate change and internal climate variability. I have applied the approach to a variety of research areas, including 1) the use of seasonal climate forecasts as adaptations to climate change, 2) robustness-based evaluation of climate change risk to water supply, 3) case studies of large, urban water supply systems to identify problematic climate conditions, 4) web-based tools to aid in decision-making under uncertainty, and 5) the quantification of the relative effects of climate uncertainty on water supply system performance. The findings of my research provide insights for decision-makers and planners to develop effective management strategies and adaptation actions that reduce risks to water resource systems under future change. 

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