Abstract for: System Dynamics Model of Southwestern New Mexico Hydrology to Assess Impact of the 2004 Arizona Water Settlements Act

Water resource management requires collaborative solutions that cross institutional and political boundaries. As key technical contributors to solving critical resource and security problems on a national scale, Sandia National Laboratories are well positioned to team with federal, state, and local water experts to model growing water concerns in the country. Unlike the traditional approach of compartmentalization of tasks and expertise, Sandia utilizes a collaborative modeling approach that is inclusive, multidisciplinary, quantitative, and transparent to all interested parties. A system dynamics (SD) approach forms the basis for the models. We illustrate this process with a water balance model of the Gila-San Francisco River Basin (Gila Basin) in southwestern New Mexico. Teaming with key stakeholders over a course of eighteen months, a system-dynamics hydrologic model is built in response to the terms of 2004 Arizona Water Settlements Act to assess the existing use of water in the region and the potential impact of additional withdrawal based on the legal requirement of the settlement. The model has enhanced the overall understanding of the intricate coupling between water resources and demands and helped structure dialogue around potential the human and ecological impact on the river health in the context of the new settlement.