Debates - Perspectives on socio-hydrology: Socio-hydrologic modeling: Tradeoffs, hypothesis testing, and validation

Tara J. Troy, Mitchell Pavao-Zuckerman, Tom P. Evans

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

87 Scopus citations


Socio-hydrology focuses on studying the dynamics and co-evolution of coupled human and water systems. Recently, several new socio-hydrologic models have been published that explore these dynamics, and these models offer unique opportunities to better understand these coupled systems and to understand how water problems evolve similarly in different regions. These models also offer challenges, as decisions need to be made by the modeler on trade-offs between generality, precision, and realism. In addition, traditional hydrologic model validation techniques, such as evaluating simulated streamflow, are insufficient, and new techniques must be developed. As socio-hydrology progresses, these models offer a robust, invaluable tool to test hypotheses about the relationships between aspects of coupled human-water systems. They will allow us to explore multiple working hypotheses to greatly expand insights and understanding of coupled socio-hydrologic systems. Key Points: Socio-hydrologic models can be seen as hypotheses of coupled system dynamics Robust validation is required across multiple basins Trade-offs between generality, precision, and realism are required

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4806-4814
Number of pages9
JournalWater Resources Research
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1 2015


  • coupled dynamics
  • hydrologic modeling
  • socio-hydrology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Water Science and Technology


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