The Drought Resilient Technologies Portfolio
What is “Drought”?
Multiple research databases were scanned to identify candidate technologies.
The initial list of candidate technologies was screened to identify technologies that appeared to have significant potential for increasing drought resilience in Tulare County within three years. Technologies that passed the initial screen were profiled through a combination of internet research and interviews with technology developers and adopters.
Technology profiles were developed for a subset of candidate technologies. In large part, one of the criteria that determined whether or not a profile was prepared was the willingness of the technology developer to provide sufficient information about the technology to enable the project team to determine whether or not it should proceed to development of a technology plan. Willingness to provide case study data with verified costs and benefits was a major determinant. Technologies that are believed to be strong candidates for Tulare County but for which detailed case study data was either not available or not provided have been reserved for later consideration.
This project did not address strategies that are already well underway, such as extensive collaboration among the state, county, community leaders, and others to access multiple state grant funds to bring critical water supplies to East Porterville and other communities whose wells had run dry and had no other local water supply options.
This project focused on identifying strategies and technologies that could bring significant water benefits to Tulare County as quickly as possible, and as cost-effectively as possible. The following general principles guided the project team’s work in identifying and ranking candidate solutions.
Table 17. Attributes of High Priority Drought Resilient Technologies
The above four criteria were applied to screen candidate technologies. Technologies that met all four criteria were retained in a Phase 1 Drought Resilient Portfolio for evaluation. Technologies that did not meet all four criteria were placed in a separate database to be revisited at a later date.
For purposes of this project, “technologies” included hardware, software, and strategies.
Figure 10 describes generally the process that was employed by the project team to identify, screen and rank candidate drought resilient technologies.
Figure 15. Technology Screening and Ranking Process
The process of collectively identifying and ascribing weights to evaluation criteria helps to levelize participants’
knowledge and understanding of the portfolio’s goals and objectives, and the portfolio developer’s needs and interests.
If the process does not seem to be producing a rational outcome, change the criteria and weight and re-score some of the candidate technologies. This is usually an iterative (and sometimes frustrating) process; but with each iteration, new insights are gained as to the types of criteria that should be included and their relative importance to the evaluation process.
More information about the process and tools that were employed by the project team to develop the Drought Resilient Technologies Database is provided in Appendix C Toolkit and is also available for download from the project website.
The Technology Database
Candidate technologies that met the four criteria were input to an Excel database that captured the following types of data.
Table 18. Drought Resilient Technologies Database
Ranking Candidate Technologies
While information was insufficient at the initial screening level to conduct detailed cost-benefit analyses, the project team was able to conduct a screening level review of candidate technologies. The process applied by the project team is a fairly common structured approach to assessing the relative costs vs. benefits of multiple investment options.
Figure 11 provides a sample scoresheet that illustrates a methodology for ranking candidate drought resilient technologies. Examples of how this scoresheet was applied to evaluate two very different technologies are provided in Appendix C Toolkit and available for download via the project’s web-based Toolkit.
Note that there is no limit to the number of criteria that can be included, although the scoring process becomes much more difficult with the number of criteria.
Similarly, weights can be applied at multiple levels; but again, too much complexity may thwart one of the objectives for this type of process, which is to ensure transparency and objectivity.
Further, there may be more than one scoresheet – for example, different types of technologies with very different purposes may very well have different criteria (for example, technologies that address drought resilience vs. electric reliability).
Especially if this is the first time that this score sheet is being used, calibration is usually needed.
Figure 16. Sample Drought Resilient Technologies Scoresheet