We couple social dynamics and decision making with hydrologic dynamics using agent-based modeling and hydrologic (physical) modeling. The intent is to see how the physical system affects and is affected by social dynamics. We seek to understand how large- and medium-sized communities, such as Phoenix, Tucson, and Grand Junction, Colorado, are undergoing change to their water systems and how this may relate to people's perceptions and social behavior.
Agent Based Modeling
Agent Based Modeling (ABM) is a method of modeling complex systems of individual agents (see Macal and North, 2010). By adding a set of agents, relationships, and an environment, ABM allows patterns and behaviors to emerge that were not explicitly programmed into the model. ABM is used to model the various institutions that make decisions on water supply in the studied area and their effects on the physical availability and quality of water.
One goal of this project is to identify physical changes in water availability and quality and social response to those changes. Hydro-climatic data on the region studied is available from a variety of sources, including the USGS national archive and Willmott and Matsuura, allowing us to easily determine changes and anomalies. The University of New Hampshire’s water balance model (WBM) is used to evolve the physical hydrologic system for the areas under study.