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Quantifying the value of stakeholder elicited information in models of coupled human-water systems
  • Sai Veena Sunkara,
  • Riddhi Singh,
  • Ajay Gajanan Bhave
Sai Veena Sunkara
University of California Davis

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Riddhi Singh
Indian Institute of Technology Bombay
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Ajay Gajanan Bhave
Newcastle University
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Causal loop diagrams (CLDs) based on expert and/or stakeholder inputs inform the quantitative structure of socio-hydrological models (SHMs). However, a systematic exploration of the sensitivity of CLDs and SHMs to different levels of stakeholder inputs is lacking. For a large multi-purpose reservoir in southern India, we explore this sensitivity by developing three CLDs that integrate reservoir water balance, groundwater pumping, and consumer water use patterns. CLD1 is a conventional water balance-based reservoir model, while CLD2 additionally incorporates the reservoir operatorâ\euro™s judgment and groundwater pumping. CLD3 further incorporates the adaptive behavior of water users by adjusting demands in response to long-term (5-year) droughts. The correlation between observed and simulated monthly reservoir storage (2000-2013) for SHM1, SHM2, and SHM3 is 0.57, 0.85, and 0.87, respectively. SHM3 also outperforms SHM1 and SHM2 in simulating the relative use of surface and groundwater for irrigation purposes in the command area of the reservoir. Simulated demand deficits, command area groundwater levels, and minimum environmental flow satisfaction downstream of the reservoir for 1968-2013 using the three models exhibit substantial differences. SHM1 and SHM2 simulate deteriorating groundwater levels under the multi-year drought of 2001-2003 while SHM3 does not due to the consideration of adaptive farmer behavior. Thus, our understanding of water and food security during a multi-year drought can be significantly affected by the level of stakeholder inputs incorporated in the models. We highlight the importance of testing different SHMs structures to better understand human-water interactions under extreme conditions.
25 Oct 2023Submitted to ESS Open Archive
26 Oct 2023Published in ESS Open Archive