Sustainable Management of Water Resources

Sustainable Management of Water Resources

An Integrated Approach

The Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei series on Economics, the Environment and Sustainable Development

Edited by Carlo Giupponi, Anthony J. Jakeman, Derek Karssenberg and Matt P. Hare

Experts across a wide range of specialist fields including social sciences, informatics, ecology and hydrology are brought together in this truly multidisciplinary approach to water management. They provide the reader with integrated insights into water resource management practices that underpin the three pillars of sustainable development – environment, economics and society – through a series of international case studies and theoretical frameworks.

Chapter 9: Software Tools for Hydrological Modelling

Derek Karssenberg, Karin Pfeffer and Marc Vissers

Subjects: economics and finance, environmental economics, environment, environmental economics, management natural resources, water


Derek Karssenberg, Karin Pfeffer and Marc Vissers 9.1 INTRODUCTION Models are useful tools for Integrated Water Resource Management due to their combined dependency and independency of the ‘real world’. Their dependency consists of the necessity of representing the real world, thereby allowing researchers to use models for making predictions, with associated uncertainty bands, of the future behaviour of the system. This could be referred to as the predictive power of models. At the same time, however, models can be considered as ‘laboratory-scale systems’ which are partly independent of the system they represent because they can easily be changed or modified for exploring system behaviour under different scenarios. Some researchers consider this exploratory power of models to be more relevant than their predictive power, as the predictive power of models is associated with high degrees of uncertainty, while for exploratory use this uncertainty becomes less of a problem (Bankes, 1993; Oreskes et al., 1994). Although physical models, which are miniature versions of the world created in the laboratory, have a wide application in water management (such as flumes used for studying river channel evolution), we focus here on mathematical models. In most cases, the mathematical equations need to be solved using numerical algorithms running on a computer, since the size and spatio-temporal variation of their inputs does not allow for manual calculations or analytical solutions. The application of numerical environmental models in Integrated Water Resource Management is complicated by the wide range of software functionality required and the number of experts...

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