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Integrated regional modelling and scenario development to evaluate future water demand under global change conditions

Journal article
Authors A. Soboll
M. Elbers
Roland Barthel
J. Schmude
A. Ernst
R. Ziller
Published in Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Global Change
Volume 16
Issue 4
Pages 477-498
ISSN 13812386 (ISSN)
Publication year 2011
Published at Department of Earth Sciences
Pages 477-498
Language en
Keywords Domestic water demand, Global change, Integrated water resources management, Interdisciplinary framework approach, Multi-agent simulation, Regional modelling, Tourism, Water users, catchment, decision support system, land use, nature-society relations, numerical model, socioeconomic impact, stakeholder, sustainability, water demand, water management, water resource, water supply, Austria, Danube Basin, Germany
Subject categories Water in nature and society


Within climate change impact research, the consideration of socioeconomic processes remains a challenge. Socioeconomic systems must be equipped to react and adapt to global change. However, any reasonable development or assessment of sustainable adaptation strategies requires a comprehensive consideration of human-environment interactions. This requirement can be met through multi-agent simulation, as demonstrated in the interdisciplinary project GLOWA-Danube (GLObal change of the WAter Cycle; www. GLOWA-Danube has developed an integrated decision support tool for water and land use management in the Upper Danube catchment (parts of Germany and Austria, 77,000 km 2). The scientific disciplines invoked in the project have implemented sixteen natural and social science models, which are embedded in the simulation framework DANUBIA. Within DANUBIA, a multi-agent simulation approach is used to represent relevant socioeconomic processes. The structure and results of three of these multi-agent models, WaterSupply, Household and Tourism, are presented in this paper. A main focus of the paper is on the development of global change scenarios (climate and society) and their application to the presented models. The results of different simulation runs demonstrate the potential of multi-agent models to represent feedbacks between different water users and the environment. Moreover, the interactive usage of the framework allows to define and vary scenario assumptions so as to assess the impact of potential interventions. It is shown that integrated modelling and scenario design not only provide valuable information, but also offer a platform for discussing complex human-environment-interactions with stakeholders. © 2010 Springer Science+Business Media B.V.

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