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IWR Publishes Collaborative Modeling for Decision Support in Water Resources - Principles and Best Practices

Published April 5, 2011
IWR and EWRI Author Collaborative Modeling for Decision Support in Water Resources:  Principles and Best Practices

ALEXANDRIA, VA—April 5, 2011. Collaborative Modeling for Decision Support in Water Resources: Principles and Best Practices fills a gap in the literature at the intersection of technical computer modeling and conflict management disciplines as applied to water resource management. It was written for facilitators, modelers, scientists and planners. The concise document presents eight principles for collaborative modeling and associated Best Practices to help a conflict resolution practitioner or modeler maximize their chances for success. The practices are illustrated with notes from actual case studies.

Collaborative Modeling for Decision Support is an approach that combines technical analysis and modeling with meaningful stakeholder collaboration. This combination is useful for leading complex decision processes, managing conflict, promoting learning and understanding, and building relationships among stakeholders. When done well, the process enhances model transparency and credibility, engages stakeholders effectively, and grounds decision-making in the best available science, all of which can improve the decision making process and lead to better decisions.

The earliest versions of collaborative modeling date back to the 1980s when advances in computer technology such as user-friendly interfaces increased accessibility to non-modelers. While there are mature literatures on both conflict resolution and computer modeling, there is less published guidance on the intersection of these two fields. Through the dissemination of these principles and practices, the team of authors seeks to inform new practitioners, and to enable current practitioners to refine and advance their skills.

The team of authors, chaired by Stacy Langsdale, Institute for Water Resources, consisted of: Allyson Beall, Washington State University; Elizabeth Bourget, Institute for Water Resources; Erik Hagen, Potomoi, LLC; Scott Kudlas, Virginia Department of Environmental Quality; Rick Palmer, University of Massachusetts; Diane Tate; and Bill Werick, Werick Creative Solutions, Inc. This effort was led through a Water Resources & Environmental Planning & Management Task Committee of the Planning & Management Council of ASCE Environmental Water Resources Institute (EWRI) and co-sponsored by the Institute for Water Resources, USACE.

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