A System Dynamics Model-Based Exploratory Analysis of Salt Water Intrusion in Coastal Aquifers

ASystem Dynamics Model-Based Exploratory Analysis of Salt WaterIntrusion in Coastal Aquifers


ASystem Dynamics Model-Based Exploratory Analysis of Salt WaterIntrusion in Coastal Aquifers

The coastalcommunities heavily depend on the on the groundwater resources forvarious uses. With this regard, such communities are “vulnerable tosalinization of the ground water reserve” (Kwakkel &amp Slinger,n.d). Additionally, the efforts aimed at managing the freshwaterresources have proven futile due to uncertainties related to economicdevelopment, technological advances, population growth, as well asthe changing climatic conditions. Consequently, such uncertaintieswere the motivating factors behind this paper. This paper attempts tofind a solution the problem associated with salinization of freshwater resources at the coastal communities. Another goal thatmotivated this paper is that there is lack of enough analytical toolsthat necessary for studying the manner in which the factors thatinfluence water and land use practices and human migration areinterrelated (Kwakkel &amp Slinger, n.d). As a result, the paperaims at providing an insight regarding the coastal communities’vulnerability to changes in climatic conditions.

In order to achievethese objectives, the paper explored various policies. First, thepaper explored the uncertainties associated with water managementsystems. The model developed in the paper policies such as land usefor agricultural purposes, the groundwater reserve, and population(Kwakkel &amp Slinger, n.d). On the other hand, the paper utilizesthe Coastal community aquifer model capturing the subsystems’ keydynamics as well as their interactions. The model’s reliability wasenhanced through coupling it to “a powerful scenario generator.”In this case, the scenario generator was able to produce plausibleand comprehensive future scenarios. The main intention of the modelwas to be predictive by utilizing consolidative modeling methods(Kwakkel &amp Slinger, n.d). With this regard, the known factsconcerning the coastal communities ware then consolidated forming one“best approximate” model. Thereafter, the model was utilized inpredicting system behavior. Thus, it is arguably true that the modelaccurately represented the real world scenario that as beinganalyzed. However, the author notes that approach of using theconsolidated approach could only be valid when there is adequateknowledge on the real world scenario and of sufficient quality(Kwakkel &amp Slinger, n.d). Consequently, the validity of the modelwas guaranteed by using strict empirical data.

In addition, theconsolidative modeling approach used in the paper is necessary forthe process of decision-making in the situation involving deepuncertainty. Besides, there exist a lot of information data andknowledge that are necessary in informing decision-making. Accordingto Kwakkel &amp Slinger (n.d), EMA (Exploratory Modeling andAnalysis) refers to a research method that employs computationalexperiments in analyzing uncertain and complex systems. This researchmethodology specifies various models in accordance with the availableinformation and hence facilitating the exploration of such models.Therefore, through various computational experiments, it is possibleto explore multiple assumptions on the real world scenario. It isworth noting that the main aim of EMA is to facilitate theexploration of a collection of models across a variety of possibleparameter values as well as drawing valid conclusions based on suchexploration.

EMA entailsvarious steps. The first step involves conceptualizing the policyproblem (Kwakkel &amp Slinger, n.d). This implies that prior tousing this approach one must thoroughly understand and define theconcept of the problem appropriately. Moreover, the second step ofEMA methodology entails developing a “simple model of the system ofinterest (Kwakkel &amp Slinger, n.d). This model is then usedrepresent the real world scenario. The third step involves designingand performing computational experiments in order to reveal thesystem behavior’s useful patterns (Kwakkel &amp Slinger, n.d).With this regard, the number of computational experiments performeddepends on the policy problem and the level of uncertaintysurrounding the problem. The next step of EMA involves exploring aswell as displaying the computational experiments’ outcomes in orderto reveal the system behavior’s useful patterns. Finally, the laststep involves making policy recommendations.

“The coastalaquifer is conceptualized as a single hydro stratigraphic unit ofsand that is bounded at the base by impermeable rock of negligiblegradient” (Kwakkel &amp Slinger, n.d). The major limitation ofthis conceptualization of the coastal aquifer some aquifers havediscontinuus strata. However, contrary to other models, this paperincludes the coastal community’s land-use dynamics, watermanagement practices, and the population in the model. This impliesthat the paper depicts the coastal aquifer and the community in thecoastal region as a social-ecological system. As a result, the modelwas able to investigate the impact of water and land-use rules andclimate change on the interlocking resource-based and socialsubsystems. The results obtained from this model were that thepopulation in the coastal community is constrained by theavailability of both water and land (Kwakkel &amp Slinger, n.d).This makes the coastal communities to be vulnerable to salinizationof water. However, there is need for more research work on theeffective management practices that could prolong the aquifer’slifetime.


Kwakkel, K. H. &amp Slinger, J. S. (n.d). A System Dynamics ModelBased Exploratory Analysis of Salt Water Intrusion in CoastalAquifers.