System Dynamics Modelling

There is a rich stream of modelling experience based around System Dynamics (SD): 

  • applied to a wide range of domains (education, health-care, environmental, business)
  • based on consideration of a 'whole system' perspective from a 'top down' direction
  • addressing the inter-relationship of all the relevant parts of the system
  • and how those change with the passage of time (i.e. the system dynamic)

Temporal / timeline calculation lies at the heart of SD modelling (spatial calculation can be appended in some way). The modelling process has been described as:

  • thought provoking and intuition challenging
  • strong in its ability to test a variety of policies and scenarios
  • potentially able to assist with sensitivity testing
  • has some ability to operate on incomplete information
  • attributes which can be relevant to aquifer based water resource planning

 SD modelling activities can start with some quite non-technical analysis methods: 

  • adopted by school students, teachers and other non-expert community practitioners
  • early model analysis can be done using causal loop diagrams (CLD), stock & flow diagrams
  • simulation using a software tool such as STELLA (other alternatives exist)
  • models can be extended to embrace greater sophistication by use of multi-level models and more detailed information
  • but this is not a mandatory starting point.  

Water resource planning presents a suitable target scenario:

  • It involves a complex mixture of component parts
  • many of which vary in time
  • it involves a community of parties with differing vested interest and perspective.