A dynamic simulation based water resources education tool

J Environ Manage. 2009 Jan;90(1):471-82. doi: 10.1016/j.jenvman.2007.11.005. Epub 2008 Feb 8.


Educational tools to assist the public in recognizing impacts of water policy in a realistic context are not generally available. This project developed systems with modeling-based educational decision support simulation tools to satisfy this need. The goal of this model is to teach undergraduate students and the general public about the implications of common water management alternatives so that they can better understand or become involved in water policy and make more knowledgeable personal or community decisions. The model is based on Powersim, a dynamic simulation software package capable of producing web-accessible, intuitive, graphic, user-friendly interfaces. Modules are included to represent residential, agricultural, industrial, and turf uses, as well as non-market values, water quality, reservoir, flow, and climate conditions. Supplementary materials emphasize important concepts and lead learners through the model, culminating in an open-ended water management project. The model is used in a University of Arizona undergraduate class and within the Arizona Master Watershed Stewards Program. Evaluation results demonstrated improved understanding of concepts and system interactions, fulfilling the project's objectives.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Agriculture
  • Arizona
  • California
  • Climate
  • Conservation of Natural Resources / methods*
  • Curriculum
  • Decision Making
  • Housing
  • Humans
  • Industry
  • Teaching / methods
  • Universities
  • Waste Disposal, Fluid / methods
  • Water Supply*