2004 Denver Annual Meeting (November 7–10, 2004)

Paper No. 13
Presentation Time: 5:00 PM


COCKERILL, Kristan1, TIDWELL, Vince2 and MALCZYNSKI, Len2, (1)American Studies, Univ of New Mexico, Ortega Hall, Room 310, MSC 03 2110, Albuquerque, NM 87131, (2)Sandia National Laboratories, P.O. Box 5800, MS 0735, Albuquerque, NM 87185, kristan5@unm.edu

Collaborative efforts whereby technical experts, decision-makers, and the interested public gather to develop management strategies are increasingly popular for navigating complex and controversial water policy issues. Unfortunately, there are not yet sufficient supporting tools that integrate the myriad values involved in water policy to allow a collaborative team to see benefits and tradeoffs among various management options.

This project is developing a generic resource-planning "toolbox"—a collection of process modules and constitutive relations that an analyst can "swap" in and out to model the physical and social systems important to a specific issue. For water management, the technical challenge lies in integrating disparate systems of hydrology, ecology, climate, demographics, economics, policy, and law. Therefore, the first task was to assemble a multidisciplinary research team that includes expertise in all of the above categories. After one year, this team has developed an initial framework for the "toolbox" within a system dynamics platform.

System dynamics provides a mathematical framework for integrating the natural and social processes and utilizes an interactive interface for engaging the public. System dynamics is based on the concept of a spatially aggregated and temporally dynamic commodity balance. These models focus on capturing the feedback and time delays between interacting subsystems. A key value is that they can reveal complex relationships that are often non-intuitive among the physical and/or social systems.

This effort has uniquely included social parameters that are crucial in water policy decisions, but difficult to integrate into a mathematical model. Using heuristic information, system dynamics allows the model to integrate typically qualitative data, such as cultural values or behavioral motivations that are not price-driven.

The models allow simulations to be conducted in a matter of seconds to minutes. Through the interactive interfaces, the public or decision-makers can generate "what if" scenarios and see the implications of various combinations of actions and what is driving the outcome.

This talk will cover the dynamic of working within a multidisciplinary modeling team and will demonstrate the "toolbox."