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Compendium on methods and tools to evaluate impacts of, and vulnerability and adaptation to, climate change


OSWRM (Okanagan Sustainable Water Resources Model)
Description

OSWRM is created in system dynamics software (STELLA). The model simulates water resource supply and demand, including residential (municipal), agricultural, and instream flow requirements. Included are population growth and climate change and how they affect both supply and demand.

The tool was developed in 2005 within a stakeholder dialogue process that focused on the potential role of climate change in management of their water resources. The tool helped to combine scientifically-generated plausible scenarios with on-the-ground knowledge of water management operations and policies, as well as the social acceptability of potential adaptation options. The tool supported dialogue by providing a common focal point and testing participants’ assumptions about the current and future state of the water resources.

Appropriate Use The purpose of the tool is to explore and learn about the system, particularly in group settings among stakeholders. The tool is not intended for policy design, but to support dialogue on which policies may be most effective and warrant more detailed study (and also, which ones will not be effective).
Scope The tool is specifically designed for the Okanagan Basin, British Columbia, Canada.
Key Output The results of the process are the OSWRM (model), analysis of future scenarios, and the experience of those who participated in the model development workshops.
Key Input The model is populated with data for hydrologic and crop water demand scenarios based on Merritt and Alila 2006, Neilsen et al. 2006, Neale et al., in press, Neale 2005, along with an array of population growth scenarios, so no additional information is required to run the model. The user has the option to select the climate and population scenario, and then to test a number of adaptation options.
Ease of Use The model was designed for use by stakeholders of different backgrounds. The user interface is separate from the model design layer and is relatively easy for the lay-person to use.
Training Required It is possible for individuals to use the model without training; however, the model was intended for use within group settings for the purpose of stimulating dialogue.
Training Available See documentation
Computer Requirements STELLA software is needed to run the model. You may download either a demo version or a model viewer from the company’s website: http://www.iseesystems.com.
Documentation A quick user guide and model documentation references are available in the appendices of both Cohen and Neale 2006 (Final report) and Langsdale 2007 (Dissertation).
Applications

OSWRM was developed within a year-long stakeholder engagement process. Five workshops were held to engage the Okanagan Basin’s water resource community (professionals and other interested parties) in guiding model development and in exploring plausible futures. This process is described in the references.

Contacts for Framework, Documentation, Technical Assistance

Stacy Langsdale, NRC Research Fellow, Institute for Water Resources, Alexandria, VA;
e-mail: slangsdale@gmail.com.

Stewart Cohen, Adaptation and Impacts Research Division (AIRD), Environment Canada, located at Dept. of Forest Resources Management, University of British Columbia, Vancouver BC; e-mail: stewart.cohen@ec.gc.ca.

Jeff Carmichael, Adjunct Faculty, Institute for Resources Environment & Sustainability, University of British Columbia, Vancouver; e-mail:jeff.carmichael@gvrd.bc.ca

Cost

STELLA software is available from ISEE for US$650 (price for educators/researchers). The price for professionals is US$1900.  Documentation for the software costs US$50. Current information on prices is available from the ISEE website (http://www.iseesystems.com).

Regarding the research study that supported Dr. Langsdale (Cohen and Neale, 2006), the study was two years in duration, but was built on previous work that extended over 5 years. The study included direct support for Dr. Langsdale’s time and for the group-based process (workshops, facilitation, and travel to the study area). Costs to develop a similar tool will depend on availability of information on the system of interest, scenario-based projections of impacts, and information on locally available adaptation measures. The current version of OSWRM is freely available.

References

Beall, A., L. Zeoli, et al. 2006. Participatory Modeling for Adaptive Management: Reports from the Field. Proceedings of the 24th International Conference of the System Dynamics Society, Nijmegen, The Netherlands.

Beall, A. and A. Ford. 2007. Participatory Modeling for Adaptive Management: Reports from the Field II. Proceedings of the 25th International Conference of the System Dynamics Society, Boston.

Beall, A. 2007. Participatory Environmental Modeling and System Dynamics: Integrating Natural Resource Science and Social Concerns. Ph.D. Thesis. Washington State University, Pullman Washington.

Cohen, S. and T. Neale (eds.). 2006. Participatory integrated assessment of water management and climate change in the Okanagan Basin, British Columbia. Final report, Project A846. Submitted to Natural Resources Canada, Ottawa. Environment Canada and University of British Columbia, Vancouver, 188p.

Langsdale, S. M. 2007. Participatory Model Building for Exploring Water Management and Climate Change Futures in the Okanagan Basin, BC, Canada. PhD Dissertation. University of British Columbia.

Langsdale, S. 2007. Communication of Climate Change Uncertainty to Stakeholders Using the Scenario Approach. J. of Contemporary Water Research & Education: 138.

Langsdale, S., A. Beall, J. Carmichael, S. Cohen, and C. Forster. In Press. An Exploration of Water Resources Futures under Climate Change using System Dynamics Modeling. Integrated Assessment Journal. The Integrated Assessment Society.

Langsdale, S., A. Beall, J. Carmichael, S. Cohen, and C. Forster. 2006. Managing water resources and climate change using group model building. Proceedings of the Adaptive Management of Water Resources Summer Specialty Conference. American Water Resources Association, Missoula, MT.

Langsdale, S. A. Beall, J. Carmichael, S. Cohen, C. Forster, and T. Neale. In review. Participatory Modeling to Explore the Implications of Climate Change on Water Resources in the Okanagan River Basin, British Columbia, Canada. Journal of Water Resources Planning and Management.

Langsdale, S., A. Beall, et al. 2006. Ch. 5: Exploring Water Resources Futures with a System Dynamics Model. Participatory Integrated Assessment of Water Management and Climate Change in the Okanagan Basin, British Columbia, Canada: Final Report. S. Cohen and T. Neale (eds.). Vancouver, Environment Canada and UBC.

Langsdale, S., A. Beall, et al. 2006. Ch. 4: Shared Learning Through Group Model Building. Participatory Integrated Assessment of Water Management and Climate Change in the Okanagan, British Columbia, Canada: Final Report. S. Cohen and T. Neale (eds.). Vancouver, Environment Canada and UBC.

Langsdale, S., A. Beall, et al. 2006. Managing water resources and climate change using group model building. Proceedings of the Adaptive Management of Water Resources Summer Specialty Conference, American Water Resources Association (AWRA), Missoula, Montana.

Merritt, W. S., Y. Alila, et al. 2006. Hydrologic response to scenarios of climate change in the Okanagan Basin, British Columbia. Journal of Hydrology 326:79-108.

Neale, T. 2005. Impacts of Climate Change and Population Growth on Residential Water Demand in the Okanagan Basin, British Columbia. School of Environment and Sustainability. Victoria, B.C., Royal Roads University.

Neale, T., J. Carmichael and S. Cohen. In press. Urban Water Futures: A multivariate analysis of population growth and climate change impacts on urban water demand in the Okanagan Basin, BC. Canadian Water Resources Journal.

Neilsen, D., C. A. S. Smith, et al. 2006. Potential impacts of climate change on water availability for crops in the Okanagan Basin, British Columbia. Canadian Journal of Soil Science 86: 921-936.

Winz, I., G. Brierley and R. Cavana. The Use of System Dynamics Simulation in Integrated Water Resource Management. Proceedings of the 25th International Conference of the System Dynamics Society, Boston.