Stakeholder involvement and infrastructure decision tradeoffs

Carlsbad desalination plant
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Policymakers typically seek to account for tradeoffs in infrastructure decision-making with technical tools like multicriteria decision-analysis, life cycle assessment, and large-scale ecological models. However, while much attention is paid to mechanistic connections between interrelated infrastructure (e.g., effects on streamflow, water temperature, or agricultural runoff), the complex dependencies between water, energy, and food infrastructure pose political and social tradeoffs that extend far beyond engineering considerations. This project, in collaboration with Dr. Nicola Ulibarri at UC Irvine, focuses on the case of trade-offs identified during the environmental impact assessment process for water, energy, or agriculture-related projects across California. The project was supported in part by a grant from the UC Water Center. We use automated text mining approaches to extract data from environmental impact statements for water and energy projects to address how stakeholder involvement shapes environmental impact assessment of water and energy projects and forthcoming research on how what different agencies focus on in impact assessment.

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