Prediction in a socio-hydrological world

V. Srinivasan, M. Sanderson, M. Garcia, M. Konar, G. Blöschl, M. Sivapalan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

97 Scopus citations


Water resource management involves public investments with long-ranging impacts that traditional prediction approaches cannot address. These are increasingly being critiqued because (1) there is an absence of feedbacks between water and society; (2) the models are created by domain experts who hand them to decision makers to implement; and (3) they fail to account for global forces on local water resources. Socio-hydrological models that explicitly account for feedbacks between water and society at multiple scales and facilitate stakeholder participation can address these concerns. However, they require a fundamental change in how we think about prediction. We suggest that, in the context of long-range predictions, the goal is not scenarios that present a snapshot of the world at some future date, but rather projection of alternative, plausible and co-evolving trajectories of the socio-hydrological system. This will both yield insights into cause–effect relationships and help stakeholders identify safe or desirable operating space.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)338-345
Number of pages8
JournalHydrological Sciences Journal
Issue number3
StatePublished - Feb 17 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • modelling
  • prediction
  • safe operating
  • socio-hydrology
  • trajectories
  • water resources

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Water Science and Technology


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