Non-urban water infrastructure prioritisation - a technical report from the CSIRO to the Queensland Government Department of State Development

Petheram, C., Stokes, C., Chilcott, C., Fletcher, C., Wilson, P., Yang, A., Marinoni, O., Moon, A., Hughes, J., Austin, J., Walter, H., Higgins, A., McFallan, S., Jarvis, D., Gallant, J., Read, A., Huddlestone-Holmes, C., McKeown, A., Bruce, C., Watson, I., and O'Sullivan, D. (2017) Non-urban water infrastructure prioritisation - a technical report from the CSIRO to the Queensland Government Department of State Development. Report. CSIRO, Canberra, ACT, Australia.

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Abstract

The objective of this study was to provide a standardised high-level assessment of non-urban water infrastructure proposals, in a manner that assists in prioritisation of non-urban water infrastructure in the Queensland Bulk Water Opportunities Statement whole of government review process. The prioritised list of projects can then be used to guide further assessment of the highest ranked projects on a whole of government basis, or by individual agencies. From a list of 69 potential water storage developments that have had some level of assessment by government or been subject to public discourse, 13 developments were short-listed and then appraised using multi-criteria analysis (MCA). MCA was selected because it allows for the evaluation of decision problems beyond the reach of traditional benefit cost analysis (BCA). MCA is able to consider a broader set of tangible and intangible criteria than BCA. It has a track record of successful applications in water management in Australia and internationally. The approach undertaken was intentionally rapid, and involved assessing existing proposals rather than generating alternative ones. Where there was insufficient detail to assess a proposal, assumptions were made based on the best available information. Seven broad categories were evaluated as part of the MCA: i) water demands; ii) project costs; iii) project benefits; iv) project impacts; v) project risks; vi) project readiness; and vii) project commerciality. Based on a set of basic principles, each category was further disaggregated into a series of criteria groups, resulting in a total of 27 criteria across the seven categories. Importantly each criterion was independent of all others. Categories and criteria were selected in conjunction with representatives from key Queensland Government Departments. Methods were devised for each criterion for consistently assigning scores across the 13 water development options. For consistency in this analysis, each option was assessed primarily for supplying water to agricultural areas, although potential demand from other nearby industries was also considered. As part of the MCA process, criteria are typically assigned weights to indicate the relative importance of different criteria and categories. In this project criteria weights were not assigned, rather the criteria weights will be subsequently assigned by the user according to key stakeholder’s explicit objectives. Importantly, this prioritisation does not constitute a ‘pre-feasibility assessment’ and does not replace the need to develop a business case or to undertake regulatory requirements for approval (such as environmental impact assessment). Rather, its purpose is as an exploratory tool to facilitate discussion about the relative merits of alternative water development proposals and how they may be modified so as to achieve better proposals or better regional economic outcomes. The MCA was performed using the Multi Criteria Analysis Tool (MCAT). This report provides the technical documentation explaining the criteria used to populate the MCA and the assumptions and rationale for assigning ratings to each criterion, for each of the short-listed water storage developments.

Item ID: 59794
Item Type: Report (Report)
Keywords: Queensland; dams; irrigation; MCA; northern Australia; agriculture
Copyright Information: © Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation 2017. To the extent permitted by law, all rights are reserved and no part of this publication covered by copyright may be reproduced or copied in any form or by any means except with the written permission of CSIRO.
Date Deposited: 14 Aug 2019 01:50
FoR Codes: 14 ECONOMICS > 1402 Applied Economics > 140205 Environment and Resource Economics @ 100%
SEO Codes: 91 ECONOMIC FRAMEWORK > 9101 Macroeconomics > 910103 Economic Growth @ 30%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9606 Environmental and Natural Resource Evaluation > 960608 Rural Water Evaluation (incl. Water Quality) @ 40%
91 ECONOMIC FRAMEWORK > 9199 Other Economic Framework > 919902 Ecological Economics @ 30%
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