Participatory Modelling: An Interdisciplinary Approach to Understand Stakeholder Awareness, Critical Thinking and Collaborative Reasoning About Water Scarcity.

Wednesday 4:30pm-5:45pm TSU - Humphries: 118
Poster Session Part of Wednesday


Katalina Salas, University of Texas at El Paso
Deana Pennington, University of Texas at El Paso
Freshwater is a scarce natural resource in the Paso del Norte Region and continues to be threatened by the increase in demand and environmental stressors. The projected increase of water use along with rising temperatures puts us on a path to extended drought or possible transition to permanent arid conditions. Demand comes from various stakeholders including municipal, agricultural, industrial, recreational, and in this region, extensive agriculture. Due to the complexity of this issue and the number of stakeholders involved Participatory Modelling (PM) becomes crucial to assess and develop possible responses to these issues. PM allows for multiple stakeholders to engage in the same conversations and enables convergence from various perspectives. The goal of this study is to take an interdisciplinary approach and integrate selected elements from participatory modeling, visual analytics, and scenario analysis to provide insights on how people collaboratively reason with data, models, and visualizations, and how such "social learning" impacts decision-making. Therefore, we will look at how learning occurs during data and model-based reasoning using information technologies. The research objectives include. 1) Use existing water simulation and optimization models available through the Sustainable Water through Integrated Modeling (SWIM) interface (refs) to develop and run key future scenarios of water resources in this region, and identify interesting spatio-temporal patterns in the data. 2) Develop and test processes for collaborating with stakeholders to explore the observed patterns and co-create storylines that are plain language interpretations. 3) Assess how social learning processes impact the development of Wieks's (2011) key competencies for sustainability education including; systems, anticipatory, normative, and strategic thinking competencies. This research is currently in design and will be initiated during Summer Semester 2019.