Managing water in complex systems: An integrated water resources model for Saskatchewan, Canada

Elmira Hassanzadeh, Amin Elshorbagy, Howard Wheater, Patricia Gober

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

80 Scopus citations


Using a system dynamics approach, an integrated water resources system model is developed for scenario analysis of the Saskatchewan portion of the transboundary Saskatchewan River Basin in western Canada. The water resources component is constructed by emulating an existing Water Resources Management Model. Enhancements include an irrigation sub-model to estimate dynamic irrigation demand, including alternative potential evapotranspiration estimates, and an economic sub-model to estimate the value of water use for various sectors of the economy. Results reveal that the water resources system in Saskatchewan becomes increasingly sensitive to the selection of evapotranspiration algorithm as the irrigation area increases, due to competition between hydropower and agriculture. Preliminary results suggest that irrigation expansion would decrease hydropower production, but might increase the total direct economic benefits to Saskatchewan. However, indirect costs include reduction in lake levels and river flows.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)12-26
Number of pages15
JournalEnvironmental Modelling and Software
StatePublished - Aug 2014


  • Economic evaluation
  • Integrated water resource management
  • Irrigation
  • SWAMP1.0
  • Scenarios
  • System dynamics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Environmental Engineering
  • Ecological Modeling


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