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Models for management of water conflicts: a case study of the San-Joaquin Watershed, California




Akhbari, Masih, author
Grigg, Neil S., advisor
Vlachos, Evan C., committee member
Fontane, Darrell G., committee member
Laituri, Melinda J., committee member

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Competition for use of water is increasing and leads to many conflicts among competing interests with complex goals in water management systems. To deal with the complex competing and conflicting situations, a variety of changes in management policies are required. Technical system models are essential to create performance and other decision information, but models to simulate views of the competing parties are also needed to help resolve or mitigate conflicts. These models can be used as helpful tools to designate effective strategies and water resources management policies that encourage parties to cooperate by accurately simulating the stakeholders' behavior and interactions. In this study a new approach to agent-based modeling (ABM) was introduced to simulate the behavior and interactions of the parties participating in a conflict scenario, which was modeled as a game. Water issues of California's San Joaquin River watershed were used as an example of a long-standing situation. The ABM explained the interactions among the parties and how they could be encouraged to cooperate in the game to work toward a solution. It was confirmed that this model can be used to manage conflicts in complex water resources systems as a powerful tool to establish rules based on the timing of flows, water demands, environmental concerns, and legislative resources. It provides a clear description of human-organizational interactions and a better understanding of complex interactive systems by simplifying the complexity of views and interactions of competing parties. Using this proposed conflict management model, decision-makers will have more reliable support for their decision-making processes.


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conflict management
surrogate worth trade off
agent-based modeling
behavioral simulation
water resources management


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