First Symposium on Policy Research


An integrated model for sustainable management of water resources in south Florida

Sajjad Ahmad, University of Miami, Coral Gables, FL; and G. Podesta, F. Miralles-Wilhelm, and R. Garcia-Martinez

We are developing a decision support (DS) framework, using a system dynamics modeling approach, to evaluate and compare different short and long term (from 1 to 50 years time horizon) water management policies in south Florida. Besides climate information, the integrated DS framework considers other major factors that influence present and future water demand and availability including: demographic changes, land use changes, economic conditions, and environmental quality. We analyze how increased or better use of climate information can lead to better, more cost-effective decisions for sustainable management of water resources.

With enormous growth in population, changes in land use, substantial agricultural production, and a need to protect vital environmental resources such as the Everglades, south Florida presents a very challenging case for water management. Working with stakeholders to meet challenges of sustainable water management in south Florida, we are exploring important questions: (a) What are some major changes in terms of population growth, land use, water demand, and water availability that can be expected in south Florida in the short and long term?; (b) What would be the major effects of climate variability and change on south Florida's water system in terms of water demand and water availability?; (c) How could Florida's water system adapt to anticipated population growth, urban sprawl, and climate change?; and (d) What are the most promising policies (based on multiple criteria) for south Florida's water management in response to growth and climate change?

Using games/scenarios involving decision makers, we evaluate different policy choices for short and long term water management in the region. First, we explore if current trends of demographic change, water use and land use continue, what will happen under different plausible climate variability scenarios (i.e., change in temperature and precipitation, both in time and space). Second, we explore scenarios with changes in water demand and supply through adding desalinization plants, reducing water losses, preserving water through efficient use, changing crop variety and pattern, and importing virtual water. Third, we explore scenarios based on land use changes considering land allocation for alternate uses (e.g., changing commercial forest to agricultural use) and changing land use within certain category (e.g., different crops within agricultural land use). The outcome is a framework for evaluating alternative water management policies. The research advances work on sustainable management of water resources considering the impacts of climate variability and considering dynamic interaction among multiple influencing factors.

Session 1, Policy Research in the Earth System Sciences
Wednesday, 1 February 2006, 8:30 AM-5:30 PM, A307

Previous paper  Next paper

Browse or search entire meeting

AMS Home Page