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A DECISION SUPPORT TOOL FOR SUSTAINABLE URBAN WATER MANAGEMENT
Cities have to seek sustainable development to meet the needs of the growing human populations while managing and minimizing their impact on the natural environment. The water system is an important component in any urban area. Urban water management involves the interaction between the society, the water resources infrastructure, and the environment. The water resources infrastructure includes systems for drinking water production and distribution, wastewater collection and treatment, and urban storm water drainage. To orientate urban areas towards sustainability, it is important to improve the sustainability of the urban water systems. Problems in different aspects of urban water management make sustainable urban water management a great challenge.
The purpose of this project is to provide a tool that will encourage urban planners to make choices that will reduce the urban impact on the environment and lead to more sustainable impacts of individual and societal decisions on the urban water system and may be used for various urban-growth scenarios, technological improvements, and user-driven decisions. This project will help to address the effects of rapid urbanization and changing demographics on the sustainability of urban water systems. Urban-scale models and linkages developed for the Phoenix metropolitan region could be used for other urban areas throughout the world and could form the basis for exploring larger-scale models. After urban-scale models are constructed, uncertainty analysis on the models will be conducted and the causes of uncertainty determined.
This project will work with a regional planning agency, the Maricopa Association of Governments (MAG), to enhance their ability to provide decision support for their constituency of Greater Phoenix municipalities. ASU has a long history of working with MAG. In fact, ASU is currently working the planning agency to develop urban-growth and air-quality models. This project will contribute to that effort with a tool for measuring the impact of decision-making and policy formation on urban-metabolism metrics. Sustaining an urban system requires a knowledgeable society to drive the political agenda. The educational components of this project are designed to reach an increasingly diverse community. The resulting urban simulation games and water ecological footprint analyses will show these audiences where water resources are obtained and wastes are disposed or transformed. These components may be used in various areas, from urban planning to public policy to sustainable development as a training tool to help provide information and knowledge to the civic leaders of tomorrow.