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Large-scale water resources management within the framework of GLOWA-Danube - The water supply model

Journal article
Authors D. Nickel
Roland Barthel
J. Braun
Published in Physics and Chemistry of the Earth
Volume 30
Issue 6-7 SPEC. ISS.
Pages 383-388
ISSN 14747065 (ISSN)
Publication year 2005
Published at Department of Earth Sciences
Pages 383-388
Language en
Keywords Agent-based modelling, Decision support system, Stakeholder involvement, Sustainable water supply, Water supply model, Computer simulation, Decision support systems, Management, Mathematical models, Sustainable development, Water quality, Water supply, Agent based modelling, Groundwater resources, water management, water resource
Subject categories Hydrology, Water in nature and society


The research project GLOWA-Danube, financed by the German Federal Government, investigates long-term changes in the water cycle of the upper Danube river basin in light of global climatic change. Its aim is to build a fully integrated decision support tool "DANUBIA" that combines the competence of eleven institutes in domains covering all major aspects governing the water cycle. The research group "Groundwater and Water Supply" at the Institute of Hydraulic Engineering (IWS), Universitaet Stuttgart, contributes a three-dimensional groundwater flow model and a large-scale water supply model which simulate both water availability and quality and water supply and the related costs for global change scenarios. This article addresses the task of creating an agent-based model of the water supply sector. The water supply model links the various physical models determining water quality and availability on the one hand and the socalled "Actor" models calculating water demand on the other by determining the actual water supply and the costs related, which underlie both technical and physical constraints (e.g., existing infrastructure and its capacity, water availability and quality, geology, elevation, etc.). In reality, water supply within the study is organised through a three-tiered structure: long-distance, regional, and a multitude of community-based suppliers. In order to model this system in which each supply company defines its own optimum, an agent-based modelling approach (implemented using JAVA) was chosen. This approach is novel to modelling water supply in that not only water supply infrastructure but more importantly the decision makers (communities, water supply companies) are represented as generalised objects, capable of performing actions following rules that are determined by the class they belong to. © 2005 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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