×I4. Water modelling in 2050 – Futures and pathways

Environmental modelling approaches are useful in providing insight into past and emerging trends in water and riverine ecosystems, and exploring “what-if” scenarios. However, too much focus on past, linearly extrapolated knowledge can limit our ability to predict how the environment will respond to a wider range of plausible dynamics and accelerating changes in the future. These changes require us, as a modelling community, to enhance the forward-looking capability in science and modelling development and governance, so that science and modelling can meet future needs.

Foresight is a systematic and participatory process for looking to, thinking about, and debating the future. Without foresight, modelling strategies can be blind to contextual changes, therefore reducing the chance of success at a future time. This is especially important given the accelerating pace of change we are facing.

In this session, we invite presentations imagining plausible, alternative scenarios of water modelling in 2050. Here, a scenario is a story or image illustrating how the future of water modelling may evolve. Here, water modelling encompasses modelling of water and related systems including climate, hydrology, hydrogeology, water quality, water-related ecosystem and human activities that interact with the water system. It also includes the broader social, cultural, economic, legal, technology and governance environment that the water modelling operate in.

In the follow-up workshop, the participants will evaluate selected future scenarios and contextualise the potential implications of these scenarios for system-based situations to:

Key topics: Foresight, Scenarios, Water modelling