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Event Summary: Coping with multiple plausible futures in the face of climate change

Dealing with Climate Change continues as a focus topic for our network


Over the last year, we have had three occasions when we have meet to discuss and workshop this broad ranging issue:

Input and overview into the critical review of climate change on water modelling  – June 2019

Climate change data for water modelling and decision making  – November 2019

Making our water models climate change ready, what’s involved? – May 2020

The May event looked at specific factors that need to be considered to make water models “climate change ready” and the issue of better aligning this to ways that decision making can be made less chaotic and uncertain was raised by a number of network participants.

In the spirit of collaboration, that underpins the Queensland Water Modelling Network, Joseph Guillaume from the Australian National University offered to bring together a team to discuss the options that could aid decision making when the future appears so uncertain.  And so we had the making of this event!!

The event attracted 137 participants with a strong presence of research and consulting colleagues.  Half the participants were from Brisbane, and in addition colleagues joined us from Melbourne, Sydney, Canberra, Adelaide and Perth.  Also 20 participants joined us from overseas.




At this LiveStream event on Monday 15 June participants were introduced to key ideas that help avoid decision paralysis when faced with multiple plausible futures:

– Robust decisions that perform well across different scenarios, using stress testing and measures of robustness

– Adaptive decisions that allow for action to be taken now by planning for change in the future

– Tailoring scenarios to suit the decision you need to make, using bottom-up vs top-down approaches

Our panel to discuss the topics were:

Joseph Guillaume Research Fellow, Fenner School of Environment & Society, ANU who explored “Decision making is a minor miracle”;

Holger Maier Professor of Environmental Engineering, The University of Adelaide who presented on “Making uncertainty and multiple objectives for current and future water supply systems”;

Avril Horne Research Fellow, University of Melbourne who walked through “Decision making under future variability and change: Environmental Water”

To watch the full presentation and the extended questions from participants following please go to:


Password: 8o^kbJoP (if it says not correct – type in the phrase rather than copy & paste)

Other event materials

Other information shared during the event include:

Chat questions, comments and responses raided during the event and various references for further reading – details click here

Key overview reference paper:  “An uncertain future, deep uncertainty, scenarios, robustness and adaptation: How do they fit together?” H.R. Maier,  J.H.A. Guillaume, H. van Delden, G.A. Riddell, d M. Haasnoot and J.H. Kwakkel  (2016)


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