Water Resources Research Act Program

Details for Project ID 2013WA378B

An Integrated Engineering and Economic Analysis of the Columbia River Treaty Renegotiation using Game Theory

Institute: Washington
Year Established: 2013 Start Date: 2013-03-01 End Date: 2014-02-28
Total Federal Funds: $18,000 Total Non-Federal Funds: $36,001

Principal Investigators: Michael Brady, Jennifer Adam, Jonathan Yoder

Abstract: The Columbia River Treaty (CRT), signed between Canada and the United States, has been in effect since 1964. Either country can exit starting in 2024 with a ten year advance notice. Therefore, there is a significant need to understand the incentives that each country has to remain in, withdraw from, or renegotiate the treaty. The existing treaty focuses on the management of dam operations for flood control and hydropower generation. There is a great deal of uncertainty over the future of the CRT because of the changes in the regional economies within the CRB over the last 50 years. A systematic approach is required to quantify impacts from changing management and to understand how potential changes may cause abandonment of the current treaty or a willingness to renegotiate. We propose to perform an integrated engineering and economic analysis of the renegotiation of the Columbia River Treaty using a game theoretic bargaining framework. Analyzing the CRT using the tools of game theory in an integrated engineering-economic study will help identify potential agreements that (1) both countries are likely to agree to, (2) will leave both countries better off as compared to the current agreement or to a withdrawal from the treaty, and (3) will be based on realistic estimates of the impact of changes in dam operations on the hydrograph of the Columbia River.