Decentralized groundwater management applications are continually evolving to reflect shifts in water needs and policies. Groundwater modeling is essential as a bridge between decision making and scientific knowledge in the regional aquifer planning setting. The premise of the dissertation is that groundwater modeling in its current state is cumbersome and inefficient to meet the needs of decision makers. The research presented here has developed an interactive decision-support system (DSS) to promote more efficient groundwater modeling approaches. The DSS combines a regional groundwater flow model with system theoretic approaches to promote decision maker interactivity and characterize their interactions during regional aquifer planning. The DSS demonstration develops a simulation-optimization model to estimate optimal groundwater production for aquifer planning purposes within the Groundwater Management Area 15 (GMA 15). The simulation-optimization model is used with a game theoretical approach to model interactions between decision makers. These approaches are made possible by developing linear response equations from the regional groundwater flow model. An evaluation of the groundwater flow model performance found greater model instability (precision of water level estimates) in areas where larger volumes of groundwater are extracted. Results from the case study indicate that model fit for the linear response equations is lower in unconfined regions and near coastal areas due to groundwater flow model nonlinearity. Results with the simulation-optimization approach indicated that adding environmental metrics, maximum drawdown and net coastal flux, resulted in lower estimates of optimal groundwater production. The decrease in optimal pumping implies that previous estimates included lesser quality groundwater near coastal areas and groundwater in deeper portions of the aquifers. The iv game theoretical approach estimated optimal groundwater production for competing neighboring groundwater districts; results indicated the optimal pumping and benefits of cooperation are dependent on the groundwater policies being modeled. Groundwater districts surrounded by neighbors that currently extract larger volumes of groundwater were found to be at a disadvantage in competing for future groundwater resources. The developed framework can be used in participatory, regional-scale groundwater planning endeavors to promote scientifically –credible, risk-informed decision making.
July 13, 2015
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