Abstract

Drinking water supply networks play an essential role in protecting the human and economic wellbeing of the territories they serve. To ensure continued quality of service, organisations involved in water infrastructure asset management need to deal with a number of issues related to global change. This article presents the results of an original interdisciplinary foresight approach carried out by a group of engineering and social scientists, in partnership with a number of stakeholders. The purpose was to examine various possible pathways for the future of a French territory. The full title of our foresight study is: ‘Supplying water destined for human consumption in Nouvelle-Aquitaine (France) up until 2070’. Four scenarios, as contrasted as possible, were designed based on five components: organisation and operation of the water supply service, social demands in terms of drinking water, the governance context, territorial dynamics, and the context. We then ran further simulations to visualise what a given infrastructure network would look like under each set of assumptions, and under different territorial configurations. One significant advantage of our foresight approach is the educational value it has for stakeholders and water managers. Foresight makes the future potentially visible and provides an opportunity to discuss it, in order to able to inform decision-making.

HIGHLIGHTS

  • We present an original interdisciplinary foresight approach.

  • Our topic is: ‘Supplying water destined for human consumption in Nouvelle-Aquitaine (France) up until 2070’.

  • Four scenarios, as contrasted as possible, were designed and translated into possible developments and requirements in infrastructure.

  • The aim is to support policy makers and WIAM organisations in assessing their preparedness in the face of global change.

Graphical Abstract

Graphical Abstract
Graphical Abstract
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