Research RendezVous: System boundaries in water resources

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Join us for the next Water Security Alliance Research RendezVous!

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This event is led by the University of Bristol Water Group.

System boundaries in water resources

Barney Dobson (Imperial College London)

"Creating a model of a water system always involves a drawing up of boundaries. I will go through three case studies that help us see the impact of these boundaries on modelled projections, each from a different perspective.

First, we will look at a small water supply system in the South West of England. This study highlights how the choice of model boundaries has such a significant impact on projected system performance that optimal operations would change depending on the formulation these boundaries.

The second case study is of a national water supply model of England and Wales. This study investigates the spatial dynamics of droughts in a manner that is simply not possible in highly bounded models.

The third case study is of London's water infrastructure. The model boundaries include water supply, distribution, runoff and wastewater. This enables in-river quality to be placed at the centre of water management, something distinctly absent from UK water management in its current form.

Through these case studies I hope to highlight that ignoring the existence of systems beyond model boundaries exposes the model to significant errors in its projections. I also hope to persuade that many opportunities reveal themselves when systems are considered from this broader perspective, a case we are currently making to water companies in England."

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