A dynamic model for sustainable river basin management

Paula Antão Da Silva, Maria Paula Baptista da Costa Antunes, Daniel Borrego, João Rocha, Nuno Videira, Rui Ferreira dos Santos

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


The European Water Framework Directive (WFD) introduced an integrated perspective in water resources management, based on an approach where the river basin is the management unit and the active involvement of all affected parties by its river basin management plan is clearly encouraged. The integrated perspective is required to develop sustainable resource management strategies adapted to the institutional, cultural and legal tradition in a region, taking into account the human dimension of the problem. A dynamic model capable of integrating quantitative and qualitative data and relationships between technical, ecological, economic and social driving forces, typical of water resources management problems, is being developed, supported by a Portuguese research project. The framework methodology includes the participation of main stakeholders belonging to the case study selected, the Arade river basin (AradeRB), in the southwest of Portugal, in a series of workshops. A combination of data-based and participatory-based systems analysis is pursued within the perspective of disciplinary integration of physical, ecological and socio-economic scales of water management, towards the formulation of sustainable governance scenarios for a river basin, in particular to AradeRB. The model is being built considering the four main economic sectors in the AradeRB: tourism, agriculture, forest and pig breeding. After the establishment of the cause-effect relationships between these sub-sectors (and sub-models) the conceptual model was implemented in STELLA, a type of software adequate for dynamic simulation. The modeller is now linking these sub-models one to the other three and all to the hydrodynamic and the demographic sub-models. Besides, exploratory scenarios accounting for different socio-economic development strategies are being built for simulation and evaluation in terms of their ecological, economic and social impacts to water demand and supply within the system of AradeRB. In this phase, the time horizon is the year 2025. Afterwards, trade-offs between AradeRB water uses will be considered, in order to guarantee the availability of water to the different uses with respect to the legal degree of quality. The first workshop with the stakeholders took place on April 2005, where causal relationships were discussed and refined, by means of a SWOT analysis. On mid-2006 a second workshop is going to take place, where a set of plausible scenarios for the AradeRB are expected to be suggested, discussed and selected. A final workshop will occur in the last trimester of 2006. Between the workshops, the model (called Sushid) is improved and simulated. This model may be a valuable tool for the establishment of river basin management plans in Portugal, which accordingly to the European WFD have to be approved by 2009.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the iEMSs 3rd Biennial Meeting,Summit on Environmental Modelling and Software
Publication statusPublished - 2006
Event3rd Biennial Meeting of the International Environmental Modelling and Software Society: Summit on Environmental Modelling and Software, iEMSs 2006 - Burlington, VT, United States
Duration: 9 Jul 200613 Jul 2006


Conference3rd Biennial Meeting of the International Environmental Modelling and Software Society: Summit on Environmental Modelling and Software, iEMSs 2006
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityBurlington, VT


  • Dynamic model
  • River basin management
  • Sustainability


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