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'Wicked Problems' and how to manage our water supply

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University of Southampton Highfield Campus

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Southampton, England SO17 1BJ

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Professor David Butler, FRS, (Exeter University)

'Water: supply, demand and sustainable and resilient systems'

Professor Butler has over 30 years experience as an internationally-leading researcher, teacher and consultant in the water sector and specialises in urban water management, including sustainable and resilient water systems, integration and control and water-energy-carbon interactions. He is a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering and co-director of the Centre for Water Systems at Exeter University. The Centre embraces serious game theory and has developed the NEXUS Game, to allow exploration of the complex interactions of uncertain, socially-coupled scenarios such as are found in the real world: so-called 'wicked' problems.

Water supply and demand, food production and energy provision and consumption are intimately linked physically, socially and economically, forming the Water-Food-Energy Nexus, an interconnected system that is increasingly a cause for concern due to projected demand growth. Strategic decision making for planning and management of infrastructure supporting the Water-Food-Energy the Nexus is an example of such wicked problems. It can, therefore, benefit from leveraging the technical strengths of simulation models and the social strengths of multi-player/stakeholder engagement in a game execution.

The Serious Gaming approach offers potentially transformative capabilities to strategic decision-support tools to provide better management of complex infrastructure systems compared to purely technical simulation or optimisation methods that have difficulty in capturing the socio-technical challenges of complex systems. The Nexus Game will simulate the evolution of the Nexus system with player(s) interfering in a system's dynamics through various choice variables/interventions. This represents a paradigm shift not only from the approaches that focus solely on technical issues, but also a shift from policy and regulatory regimes that concentrate on individual Nexus components separately. More information about the Centre's research is here.

More details will be added in due course. The event will follow the format of the networking lunchtime event we held in May.

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University of Southampton Highfield Campus

Room tbc

Southampton, England SO17 1BJ

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