Thesis title: Managing Water under Uncertainty: Challenges and Perspectives in Water-Scarce Countries
The growing imbalances between water demand and its availability are imposing onerous restrictions on the environmental and economic systems. The changes in the Earth’s climate are projected to exacerbate these imbalances, specifically in regions where water scarcity is already prevalent. As such, the need to develop feasible solutions for the optimal allocation of water resources is needed. The objective of this thesis is to analyze the economic implications of integrated management of the water and sanitation sectors while accounting for the uncertain and changing climate. With water being an intermediate input in numerous production activities (e.g., agriculture, various industries) and consumed as a final good (e.g., households), a water-driven Computable General Equilibrium (CGE) model will be used in this dissertation to study the direct and indirect impacts of water availability on the various economic activities. The country-based CGE model (STAGE_W) will be extended for this dissertation and applied to the Lebanese water and sanitation sector. Significant shortages, lack of access to, and quality of water services resulted in the development of the informal private sector, which played an integral part in bridging the gap between the shortages in supply and the excessive demand. The model database and structure will be extended to include the informal water sector. Current water tariffs and proposed tariff reforms will be assessed with reliance on the water tax instruments within the STAGE_W model framework. Furthermore, the economic consequences of projected reductions in water supply induced by climate change will be modelled for Lebanon. Predictions based on different climate change scenarios of water availability for the midcentury (2046-2065) and end-century (2081-2100) are taken from a hydrological model. Finally, simulations of scenarios featuring investments in water infrastructure facilities will be assessed, highlighting the importance of increasing water supply on the economy. Hydraulic engineering models will be used to estimate the cost of the infrastructure requirements ( i.e. water distribution networks).
Zein is an environmental engineer with a special interest in water resource management and water infrastructure design. Zein has a strong technical background and experience in hydraulic design and modelling for a wide range of water infrastructure utilities including water-supply networks, drainage and wastewater. Before joining UCL Institute for Sustainable Resources, Zein worked with Dar Group as an environmental engineer and actively participated in detailed engineering designs for various projects in the Gulf, Middle East and North and West Africa.
His research focuses on analysing the economic implications of integrated management of the water and sanitation sectors while accounting for the uncertain and changing climate water-scarce countries. For this purpose, a water-driven country-based Computable General Equilibrium (CGE) model will be used as the macroeconomic modelling tool to assess the economic impact of water of water policy reforms (namely water tariffs) and investments in water infrastructure facilities. The model will be applied to the Lebanese water and sanitation, where the current unsustainable practices are projected to lead to chronic water shortages across the country.