Formulation of an Integrated Model for Freshwater Resources Policy Evaluation in Jordan

Monday, 15 December 2014
Steven Gorelick1, Jim Yoon1, Erik Gawel2, Bernd Klauer3, Christian J. A. Klassert3, Katja Sigel3, Amaury Tilmant4, Thibaut Lachaut4, Nicholas Avisse4, Julien J. Harou5, Silvia Padula5 and Daanish Mustafa6, (1)Stanford Univ, Stanford, CA, United States, (2)Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research UFZ Leipzig, Department of Economics, Leipzig, Germany, (3)Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research UFZ Leipzig, Leipzig, Germany, (4)Laval University, Quebec City, QC, Canada, (5)University of Manchester, Manchester, United Kingdom, (6)Kings College, London, United Kingdom
Jordan is one of the four water poorest countries in the world. It is a highly vulnerable arid region whose freshwater system is at a tipping point due to the confluence of severely limited water supplies, rapid population growth, refugee influxes, climate change and variability, internal and transboundary competition for shared freshwater resources, and institutional impediments. Our team is engaged in an interdisciplinary effort aimed at developing a new approach to evaluate policies that enhance sustainability of freshwater resource systems. Our work adopts a multi-agent modeling framework that incorporates institutional complexity to evaluate policy instruments for improving water security in Jordan. We are developing this model using a modular approach, integrating biophysical modules that simulate natural and engineered phenomena (e.g., groundwater-surface water flow, reservoir storage, network routing, salt balance, and crop yield) with human modules that represent behavior at multiple scales of decision making. The human modules adopt a multi-agent simulation approach, defining agents as autonomous decision-makers at the government, administrative, organizational, and user levels. Our goal is to construct a suite of policy intervention scenarios that will form the basis for analysis of freshwater sustainability. This work has benefitted from a strong working relationship with leaders of the water sector in Jordan. Our approach and the merit of the policy interventions should have significant transfer value to other water-stressed regions.