Decision support for project selection in Texas water planning



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The state of Texas is facing critical decisions that will greatly impact the preparedness of the state to meet future water demand. Consequently, during the 83rd Texas Legislative Session, state legislators proposed House Bill 4 (HB 4), a bill that if funded will provide an additional two billion dollars of funding for Texas water planning projects. Objectively evaluating and prioritizing projects would enable the efficient distribution of funding and minimize conflicts between water users. This project uses multi-criteria decision modeling to compare various evaluation criteria and decision preferences and prioritize proposed water management strategies in the 2012 State Water Plan. Combinations of project, regional, and legislative criteria are considered in eight decision scenarios. Projects are evaluated using Logical Decisions software and Microsoft Excel to calculate project utility and identify distribution strategies for funding. Results of this study provide insight into regional and strategy funding biases. Additionally, the decision model analyses highlight the effects of project prioritization on urban vs. rural and arid vs. humid Texas water conflicts.