An Educational Simulation Tool for Water Resource at the State Level in the USA

Sunday, February 14, 2016
Thuy Nguyen, Arizona State University, TEMPE, AZ
There is a growing need for educational tools that expand the public’s awareness and the ability to understand the complexity of water systems and their management. With support from the Smithsonian Museum and the Arizona State University’s Decision Center for a Desert City, we built an educational simulation tool based on a simple water model to satisfy this need. The goal of the model is to allow the general public to access and explore how various combinations of climate change, land use, and water policies impact the water balance and stress indicators in selected states. The model demonstrates water supply and water demand challenges within the consideration of water policies (increase in groundwater, use of desalination water, and use of reclaimed water scenarios). In this poster, we will first provide the model at the state level based on the collected data for five states in Florida, Idaho, Illinois, Minnesota and Wyoming. The data for water use is aggregated for each state, primarily based on the Clean Watershed Needs Survey (CWNS) of 2008, the National Hydrography Data set Plus (NHDPlus), and Environmental Protection agency’s (EPA) Permit Compliance System. For general access among the public, this tool will be usable via a web browser interface and through i-pad devices. Participants will enjoy the model as a game for entertainment but also as an educational tool to better understand and become more involved in water resource sustainability.