Integrated Water Resources Management and Modelling for Decision-making at the River Basin Scale

  • Author / Creator
    Wang, Kai
  • As an essential resource for nature and socio-economic development, water is under increasing pressure due to population and economic growth, uneven resource distribution, and climate change uncertainties. Therefore, with increasing concern over environmental impacts, ecosystem damage, and economic cost, water resources management is shifting from a “hard path”, which relies on hydraulic infrastructure, to a “soft path” – the focus of this research – that considers efficient water management and conservation. In this context, the United Nations proposed Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) as an approach to managing water from a holistic perspective, both in its natural state and in balancing the competing demands – agricultural, municipal, industrial, and environmental – to achieve long-term water sustainability. The central theme of this research is to understand and quantify IWRM ideas at the river basin scale. Following a systems approach which contains main water uses under the IWRM context – agricultural, municipal, industrial, and environmental sectors – three water management models with different sectoral focuses are discussed in this research. Chapter 1 introduces a drought management model focusing on the agricultural water simulation with five representative rain-fed and irrigated crops, four livestock types, two tree crops, and vineyards. An integrated water resources model for scarcity management, which is discussed in Chapter 2, has a detailed representation of the industrial water sector including power generation, conventional oil and gas extraction, mining, and manufacturing. Chapter 3 introduces a municipal water management model that includes ten specific end-uses with seven residential end-uses (six indoor and one outdoor use), and three non-residential uses. Results from all three models reveal the broad impacts of drought and water scarcity on farmers, municipalities, industries, and the environment, and the effectiveness of available water, land, financial, and technological policies, especially their trade-offs in the context of IWRM. These models could be used for water demand projection, water balance analysis, water shortage impacts estimation, and water management policy impacts and trade-off simulation with social, economic, and environmental considerations under future uncertainties. The models are intended as decision-support tools for water resource managers and planners, policy-makers, researchers, students, and the public. Further, using some of these models in a simulation gaming format makes them suitable decision support tools to provide management strategy feedback, promote collaborative decision-making, and contribute to the understanding and practice of IWRM.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    2017-11:Fall 2017
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Doctor of Philosophy
  • DOI
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.
  • Language
  • Institution
    University of Alberta
  • Degree level
  • Department
    • Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
  • Specialization
    • Water Resources Engineering
  • Supervisor / co-supervisor and their department(s)
    • Thian Yew Gan (Civil and Environmental Engineering)
    • Evan Davies (Civil and Environmental Engineering)
  • Examining committee members and their departments
    • Evan Davies (Civil and Environmental Engineering)
    • Aminah Robinson Fayek (Civil and Environmental Engineering)
    • Mark Loewen (Civil and Environmental Engineering)
    • Patricia Gober (Geographical Sciences & Urban Planning)
    • Yuntong She (Civil and Environmental Engineering)