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Hydrology and Earth System Sciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-2017-480
© Author(s) 2017. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
Research article
09 Aug 2017
Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Hydrology and Earth System Sciences (HESS).
A Coupled Modeling Framework for Sustainable Watershed Management in Transboundary River Basins
Hassaan F. Khan1, Y.-C. Ethan Yang2, Hua Xie3, and Claudia Ringler3 1Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA 01003, USA
2Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Lehigh University, Bethlehem, PA 18015, USA
3International Food Policy Research Institute, Washington, DC, USA
Abstract. There is a growing recognition among water resources managers that sustainable watershed management needs to not only account for the diverse ways humans benefit from the environment, but also incorporate the impact of human actions on the natural system. Coupled natural-human system modeling through explicit modeling of both natural and human behavior can help reveal the reciprocal interactions and coevolution of the natural and human systems. This study develops a spatially scalable, generalized modeling framework consisting of a process-based distributed hydrologic model (SWAT) and a decentralized water systems model (ABM) to simulate the impacts of water resources management decisions that affect the food-water-energy-environment (FWEE) nexus at a watershed scale. Agents within a river basin are geographically delineated based on both political and watershed boundaries and represent key stakeholders of ecosystem services. Agents decide about the priority across three primary water uses: food production, hydropower generation and ecosystem health within their geographical domains. Agents interact with the environment (streamflow) through the SWAT model and interact with other agents through a parameter representing willingness to cooperate. The innovative two-way coupling between the water systems model and SWAT enables this framework to fully explore the feedback of human decisions on the environmental dynamics and vice versa. This generalized ABM framework is tested in two key transboundary river basins, the Mekong River Basin in Southeast Asia and the Niger River Basin in West Africa, where water uses for ecosystem health compete with growing human demands on food and energy resources. We present modeling results for crop production, energy generation and violation of eco-hydrological indicators at both the agent and basin-wide levels to shed light on holistic FWEE management policies in these two basins.

Citation: Khan, H. F., Yang, Y.-C. E., Xie, H., and Ringler, C.: A Coupled Modeling Framework for Sustainable Watershed Management in Transboundary River Basins, Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci. Discuss., https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-2017-480, in review, 2017.
Hassaan F. Khan et al.
Hassaan F. Khan et al.
Hassaan F. Khan et al.

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Short summary
Sustainable water management needs to account for the ways humans benefit from the environment,while also incorporating the impact of human actions on the natural system. In this study,we present a generalized modeling framework to simulate the reciprocal impacts of human decisions on water availability, food and energy production, and the environment in two transboundary river basins.The framework allows users to observe how individual water use decisions affect others across the entire system.
Sustainable water management needs to account for the ways humans benefit from the...
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