Coupling System Dynamics and Physically-based Models for Participatory Water Management - A Methodological Framework, with Two Case Studies: Water Quality in Quebec, and Soil Salinity in Pakistan

Monday, 15 December 2014
Jerome Boisvert-Chouinard, Johannes Halbe, Azhar Inam Baig and Jan F Adamowski, McGill University, Montreal, QC, Canada
The principles of Integrated Water Resource Management outline the importance of stakeholder participation in water management processes, but in practice, there is a lack of meaningful engagement in water planning and implementation, and participation is often limited to public consultation and education. When models are used to support water planning, stakeholders are usually not involved in their development and use, and the models commonly fail to represent important feedbacks between socio-economic and physical processes.

This paper presents the development of holistic models of the Du Chêne basin in Quebec, and the Rechna Doab basin in Pakistan, that simulate socio-economic and physical processes related to, respectively, water quality management, and soil salinity management. The models each consists of two sub-components: a System Dynamics (SD) model, and a physically based model. The SD component was developed in collaboration with key stakeholders in the basins. The Du Chêne SD model was coupled with a Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT) model, while the Rechna Doab SD model was coupled with SahysMod, a soil salinity model.

 The coupled models were used to assess the environmental and socio-economic impacts of different management scenarios proposed by stakeholders.

Results indicate that coupled SD – physically-based models can be used as effective tools for participatory water planning and implementation. The participatory modeling process provides a structure for meaningful stakeholder engagement, and the models themselves can be used to transparently and coherently assess and compare different management options.