Using system dynamics models to facilitate stakeholder interaction in water resources management

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date


Publication Title

18th International Conference of the System Dynamics Society


System Dynamics Society


This paper discusses a study testing the potential of system dynamics to facilitate stakeholder interaction in the management of the Las Vegas, NV water system. The Las Vegas water system serves one of the fastest growing metropolitan areas in the U.S., located in one of the country’s most arid regions. Already at 1.3 million people, the population has been increasing by 5,000 people per month for the last decade. All sewage effluent from the city, shallow subsurface groundwater, and stormwater drains via a 12- mile natural wash to Lake Mead, discharging into the lake six miles upstream from the city’s drinking water intake. This physical loop in the water system makes understanding the dynamic connections between urban development, ecosystem change, and water quality trends especially important for water management. Over 20 local, regional and federal entities, as well as local businesses and residents, have interests in this water system, each identifying different system characteristics as problematic. Management challenges include identifying and addressing diverse stakeholder objectives and communicating information about the dynamics of the interconnected urban and environmental system. To test the potential of system dynamics to facilitate stakeholder interaction, we have developed a series of progressively more complex stock and flow models representing the water system. In a series of workshops scheduled for spring 2000, we will evaluate the utility of these models and the effectiveness of the approach. This paper will discuss the findings from the workshops.


Administrative agencies; City planning; Nevada – Las Vegas Valley; Nevada – Las Vegas Wash; Political participation; Sustainable urban development; Urban runoff; Water resources management; Water-supply


Environmental Policy | Environmental Sciences | Place and Environment | Urban Studies | Urban Studies and Planning | Water Resource Management




Conference held in Bergen, Norway from August 6- 10.


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