Towards socio-hydrologic synthesis: modeling the co-evolutionary dynamics of coupled human, water and ecological systems
Freshwater security poses one of the largest challenges of the 21st century, with uncertain future supplies due to climate change and increasing demands on water as populations grow and ecosystem services become increasingly valued. Human impacts on water resources and ecosystems have grown, but the ability of freshwater sciences to understand and model interlinked human and hydrologic systems has not kept pace. In part, this reflects the lack of collaboration between socio-economic specialists and hydrologists; and in part, it reflects a tendency of hydrological models to treat human impacts on water systems as exogenous, complex, and place-specific issues. This project aims to address both these issues by creating a series of collaborative workshops that will bring together hydrologists, ecologists, and social scientists to undertake synthesis research in the nascent field of socio-hydrology. These workshops will investigate case studies drawn from real-world water problems to discover common behaviors and governing relationships in coupled human-water-ecology systems. The goal of the project is to build a new generation of generic conceptual models and “socio-hydrologic” modeling frameworks that transcend place-based complexity, and advance understanding of the dynamics and co-evolution of human, water, and eco-environmental systems.