An Integrated GIS Framework for Water Reallocation and Decision Making in the Upper Rio Grande Basin

EPA Grant Number: R828070
Title: An Integrated GIS Framework for Water Reallocation and Decision Making in the Upper Rio Grande Basin
Investigators: Matthews, Olen Paul , Scuderi, Louis A. , Campana, Michael E. , Brookshire, David S. , Cullen, Brad T. , Chermak, Janie , Krause, Kate , Gregory, Kirk , Snell, Seth
Current Investigators: Matthews, Olen Paul , Scuderi, Louis A. , Campana, Michael E. , Brookshire, David S. , Cullen, Brad T. , Demint, Ann , Chermak, Janie , Coonrod, Julie , Benedict, Karl , Krause, Kate , Reno, Marissa , Ewers, Mary , Greer, Michael , Pease, Mike , Watson, Rick
Institution: University of New Mexico
EPA Project Officer: Packard, Benjamin H
Project Period: March 1, 2000 through February 28, 2003
Project Amount: $409,977
RFA: Water and Watersheds (1999) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Water and Watersheds , Water


We purpose to use a coupled physical, environmental, and human system model in an integrated Geographic Information System (GIS) framework to simulate interactions and changes within the Rio Grande watershed in NM. The coupled model proposed will operate entirely within a GIS unlike other models that use GIS mostly for display. This approach will permit the evaluation of impacts if any component of the model changes as a result of natural or anthropogenic causes. Because water law and economics will be integrated with physical and biological components, the coupled model can be used to evaluate the economic consequences of different environmental policies. Stakeholders will use the model to evaluate policy questions.


The project has two aspects: development of the GIS model and stakeholder evaluation of policy options. The modeling framework of this study utilizes a raster based distributed water balance approach in which each raster element represents a bucket through which inputs and outputs may be routed. The model utilizes a hierarchical resolution grid scheme based on a quad-tree subdivision of the landscape. The raster data structure is designed to allow an infinite number of process specific resolutions on an as-needed basis (i.e., finer cells where detail is required, coarser cells where data limitations preclude the finer scales or where processes operate on coarser scales). Stakeholders will participate in focus groups to discuss issues and create future water use scenarios. The information gained during these early stages will be, to a large extent, hypothetical. We will then develop a pseudo-real time decision analysis tool that incorporates real consequences, via monetary payoffs, minimize the potential bias in hypothetical responses. Stakeholders will make water use decisions in an experimental setting. The cumulative effects of individual stakeholder decisions will be simulated using a GIS model developed in the first two years of this research.

Expected Results:

Because citizens and managers are uncertain how reallocation will impact individual water users, the public, or the environment, resistance to change is common. The proposed model creates a realistic framework that will allow the volume of water to be determined at any place and point of time within the watershed being modeled. Coupled with disparate representation and economic activities, the model will be used to determine the impact and tradeoffs between different management and policy decisions. By having stakeholders identify the issues, a more realistic evaluation is possible.

Publications and Presentations:

Publications have been submitted on this project: View all 59 publications for this project

Journal Articles:

Journal Articles have been submitted on this project: View all 7 journal articles for this project

Supplemental Keywords:

public policy, decision making, scaling, nonmarket valuation, preferences, public good, integrated assessment, ground water, remote sensing, global climate., RFA, Economic, Social, & Behavioral Science Research Program, Scientific Discipline, Water, Ecosystem Protection/Environmental Exposure & Risk, Hydrology, Water & Watershed, Monitoring/Modeling, decision-making, Ecology and Ecosystems, Geology, Urban and Regional Planning, Watersheds, Economics & Decision Making, water resources, remote sensing, environmental monitoring, RIo Grande watershed, community-based approach, watershed, Upper Rio Grande Basin, decision making, environmental decision making, integrated assessment, aquatic ecosystems, GIS, community tracking, changing environmental conditions, water quality, hierarchical resolution grid, ecology assessment models, public policy, water management options, ecological models, hydrologic modeling, econometrics, stakeholder feedback, water monitoring

Progress and Final Reports:

  • 2000 Progress Report
  • 2001 Progress Report
  • Final Report