Recent environmental changes have caused water availability and quality to become important topics in resource management. The NSF-funded Analyzing Agents and Aqua is a collaboration between the University of Chicago, University of New Hampshire, University of Idaho, and University College London that aims to investigate the feedback relationships between emergent social controls, water technologies, and hydrological change in urban settings. We seek to address the relationship between how water is utilized and factors that cause people to be less or more aware of changing water resources. We seek to understand the role of Technology Induced Environmental Distancing (TIED), which describes how increased layers of technology distances users from natural resources, affecting people’s behavior and potentially causing urban centers and regions to be more or less able to cope with social-environmental change that affects water resources.
In our first year, we focused on using natural language processing techniques to identify key decision-makers and issues affecting urban regions in the Western States. We are now focusing on understand how social decisions by individuals, institutions, and others are interacting and are affecting and affected by changes to water systems. This is accomplished by coupling agent-based models with physical models of water systems.
This work was made possible by research funding from the National Science Foundation (BCS-1114851). The views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of the National Science Foundation.