An analysis of the feedback structure driving water dynamics in the Dead Sea region

Aktivität: Vortrag ohne Tagungsband / VorlesungPräsentation auf einer wissenschaftlichen Konferenz / Workshop


This paper presents interim results of the ongoing EU-project "A Future for the Dead Sea Basin" (INCO-MED contract no ICA3-CT-2002-10019), which has the overall objective to establish a scientific basis for a "more sustainable" water management and water-related land management in the Dead Sea basin. Based on that, the team will develop practical recommendations which can be used for strategic decision making." The ultimate objective of the system analysis which is an essential part of the whole project is to understand the complexity of interconnections within the water management system and their driving forces. This should allow the team to identify options for system changes. Water management policies neglecting inherent feedback mechanisms often fail to solve the water scarcity problem of the Dead Sea region. Two different subsystems a physical and a socio-economic one have been analysed by different expert teams to find the inherent feedback structure (circular causal loops) between system elements. Cause - effect relations such as population growth and demand for domestic water drive water flows of the region around the Dead Sea. The paper provides several causal loop diagrams to discuss how far such a qualitative analysis can be used to determine system behaviour over time and which results for the management process can be developed by this qualitative systems analysis tool without using quantitative data. The "system dynamics" approach was developed in the late fifties by J. W. Forrester and has been applied in many different research fields through today. Drawing causal loop diagrams to visualize the structure of a system enables grasping the feedback structure which shapes system behaviour. As other studies have shown, complex systems are remarkably insensitive to changes in many parameters and therefore often hard to manage. We discuss why externally applied corrective efforts from policy makers are doomed to fail due to the feedback structure of the system and why short term changes often differ from mid term or long term changes. We show how feedback loops that are not considered are often responsible for counterintuitive behaviour and policy resistance observed in social systems. Examples will include how water prices for agriculture can influence tourism or wastewater recycling in the region, water allocation issues (industry, municipal etc.) and agricultural water prices. As a result the qualitative analysis will provide a better view of the dynamic of the system and reduce the uncertainty of possible future changes due to management measurements.
Zeitraum14 Juni 200415 Juni 2004
EreignistitelMEDAQUA II - The INCO-MED Water Conference

Research Field

  • Nicht definiert