Research School for Socio-Economic and
Natural Sciences of the Environment
Research School for Socio-Economic and
Natural Sciences of the Environment

Laura Basco Carrera

Date: 26 September 2018
Time: 16:45 - 17:45
Location: UT Waaier 4, Enschede

Dissertation title: 

Participatory & collaborative modelling key to sustainable and inclusive development: Strengthening stakeholder ownership for informed and participatory water resources management

Group: University of Twente, Water Management Group
Promotor: Eelco van Beek
Co-promotor: Dr. Andreja Jonoski

Safe access to water is essential for sustainable development. Building resilience towards disaster risks and ensuring water availability by balancing the many competing uses and users of water, while maintaining healthy and diverse ecosystems, are critical elements to ultimately deliver water security.

In this Ph.D. thesis, participatory and collaborative modelling is presented as a means towards sustainable development, as it supports informed decision-making and inclusive development. How to develop and use computer-based simulation models is analysed following a participatory or collaborative modelling approach for managing water resources, so their use can be enhanced, and the ownership of the development strengthened.

The research approach comprises four main elements:

  • (i) identifying the key components of participatory and collaborative modelling;
  • (ii) making an inventory of existing approaches, methods and tools; and developing a conceptual framework for their design and evaluation;
  • (iii) designing and applying four participatory and collaborative modelling approaches that make use of computer-based simulation models in specific cases; and
  • (iv) testing and evaluating the technical and social contributions of the designed approaches.

Four methods are presented to engage stakeholders in the development and use of computer-based simulation models. These are:

  • (i) collaborative modelling using system dynamics and simulation modelling,
  • (ii) Companion Modelling,
  • (iii) Fast Integrated Systems Modelling, and
  • (iv) crowdsourcing and Interactive Modelling.

These approaches are tested in nine study cases, from which this thesis focuses on five of them. The covered themes and countries include river basin planning in Indonesia, water quality management in Turkey and Indonesia, adaptive planning in Bangladesh, and flood risk management in Tanzania. These methods support the decision-making process by making it evidence-based and inclusive. Stakeholders feel that they are part of the process as their knowledge, interests, and needs are actively considered and valued. Together, modellers and stakeholders share learning, build consensus, have a sense of ownership of the solutions developed and trust in the decision-making process. Moreover, the use of participatory and collaborative modelling makes the modelling process more efficient. The combination of both technical and local knowledge supports the construction of a more accurate model. Data collection does not become a bottle-neck in the modelling process, and model validation requires less duration.