AbstractsBusiness Management & Administration

Collaborative Modelling in Water Resources Management: Two approaches from the Netherlands:

by A. Warren

Institution: Delft University of Technology
Year: 2015
Keywords: Collaborative Modelling; AZURE; Delta Programme Rivers; Stakeholder Participation; Groundwater Management; Flood Risk Management; iMOD; Blokkendoos; Consortium Modelling; Model-Supported Collaborative Planning
Record ID: 1241465
Full text PDF: http://resolver.tudelft.nl/uuid:31809925-d313-401f-a5b5-efb34bc13c6a


Water Resources Management (WRM) problems are now recognised for their complexity. Approaches for dealing with these problems must integrate a variety of interests, perspectives, values and knowledge into their potential solutions. They must also confront and manage problem uncertainties. The involvement of stakeholders in these approaches is critical. Collaborative Modelling (CM) offers a particularly promising set of approaches to involve stakeholders in computer-based modelling activities in WRM. This thesis analyses two of these approaches from the Netherlands: the development of the AZURE iMOD groundwater model using a Consortium Modelling approach, and the Model-Supported Collaborative Planning approach adopted during the Dutch Delta Programme Rivers (DPR). It identifies which characteristics, structures, and processes of collaboration were important in achieving approach objectives, in addition to establishing those the stakeholders involved most valued and appreciated. Consortium Modelling is found to apply most in problem contexts where the scientific knowledge base is uncertain. The approach is premised upon cooperative stakeholder involvement at a high co-decision making level of participation. It is an intensive process of model co-construction, where specialists with sufficient technical knowledge collaborate in the development of a sophisticated groundwater model. In contrast, Model-Supported Collaborative Planning is more suited to problem contexts where different values and opinions proliferate and the scientific knowledge base is largely certain or uncontested. This approach directly supports policy-making, and relies upon highly structured involvement for large numbers of stakeholders at different levels of participation. It involves the development and use of a Blokkendoos model (or ‘Planning Kit’) to formulate an integrated flood protection strategy. The thesis demonstrates which stakeholders to involve and when to involve them in these approaches depends upon the problem context and the specific purposes of the CM exercise. Higher levels of participation are generally preferred over lower levels for both approaches, and it is broadly beneficial if stakeholders are involved during the earliest agenda setting phases. Neutral expert advice and process management can also be of benefit, provided these experts enjoy the trust of the stakeholders involved. It is also essential to confront any uncertainties with stakeholders, and provide sufficient time for both collaborative and model-construction processes to occur. This, notwithstanding, care must be taken in translating either of these approaches to cultural contexts significantly different to that existing in the Netherlands. The thesis confirms and reiterates many CM recommendations presented in previous research, however, several of these are found to also be dependent upon problem contexts and the specific purposes of the exercise.