A dynamic simulation based water resources education tool

Alison Williams, Kevin Lansey, James Washburne

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Educational tools to assist the public in recognizing impacts of water policy in a realistic context are not generally available. This project developed systems with modeling-based educational decision support simulation tools to satisfy this need. The goal of this model is to teach undergraduate students and the general public about the implications of common water management alternatives so that they can better understand or become involved in water policy and make more knowledgeable personal or community decisions. The model is based on Powersim, a dynamic simulation software package capable of producing web-accessible, intuitive, graphic, user-friendly interfaces. Modules are included to represent residential, agricultural, industrial, and turf uses, as well as non-market values, water quality, reservoir, flow, and climate conditions. Supplementary materials emphasize important concepts and lead learners through the model, culminating in an open-ended water management project. The model is used in a University of Arizona undergraduate class and within the Arizona Master Watershed Stewards Program. Evaluation results demonstrated improved understanding of concepts and system interactions, fulfilling the project's objectives.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)471-482
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Environmental Management
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2009


  • Dynamic Simulation
  • Education
  • Modeling
  • Sustainability
  • Water Resources

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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