A Participatory Approach to Development of a Decision Support Tool

by Stacy Langsdale,
Barbara Lence,
Jeff Carmichael,
Stewart Cohen,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Critical Transitions in Water and Environmental Resources Management


Effective decision-making in water management must consider both the physical characteristics of the system and the social, political, and institutional aspects. These latter aspects cannot be understood through scientific assessment, but are familiar to local residents and water interests. A decision support tool will be developed to assist in long-term water resources planning activities in the Okanagan Basin in British Columbia, Canada. The model will be created in a system dynamics platform, and will integrate technical hydrologic and climate change model results with institutional and social aspects. An advisory committee of local planners and decision makers will play an important role in the development of the model; they will provide information for the institutional and social aspects, and they will help to discern what level of complexity will provide the best results for their planning activities. This close involvement with local experts will ensure that the completed model will be useful for the community. Furthermore, the model development process itself will be a format for shared learning about water management in the Okanagan.

Subject Headings: Decision support systems | Water management | Social factors | Hydrologic models | Water resources | Decision making | Political factors | Canada | British Columbia

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