• Article

Managing water resources conflicts Modelling behavior in a decision tool

While technical tools for analysis of water resources systems have advanced, the major issue in resolving problems focuses on the interaction of human and natural systems. Agent-based modeling (ABM) has recently been used as an effective tool to develop integrated human-environmental models. One of the main challenges of ABM application in water resources management is to identify and characterize key agents. We provided recommendations to characterize agents normally involved in water decisions, and developed a framework for a conflict management tool, comprised of three models: a watershed simulation, an optimization, and a behavioral simulation model. The optimization-simulation model determined tradeoffs between the objective functions. The behavioral simulation model, developed based on ABM, simulated stakeholders interactions and their reactions to water allocation decisions. This model evaluated the applicability of different management scenarios to achieve specific rates of reduction in agricultural water allocations, selected from the tradeoffs. To develop and adjust this model, key stakeholders were identified in the San Joaquin River (SJR) watershed, California, and a survey was administered. The proposed recommendations and framework provides a new and innovative way to identify institutional interconnections, formulate and simulate their interactions, and create a hydrologic-environmental-human interface to support powerful decision-support tools to manage conflicts and make informed, practical decisions in water resources.


Akhbari, M., & Grigg, N. S. (2015). Managing water resources conflicts: Modelling behavior in a decision tool. Water Resources Management, 29(14), 15-5216. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11269-015-1113-9

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