Abstract for: Developing a System Dynamics model to investigate sustainability of traditional acequia communities of New Mexico

Agriculture-based irrigation communities of northern New Mexico, forms of Coupled Natural-Human and Common Pool Resources systems, have survived for centuries despite the arid environment in which they reside. These irrigation communities provide a broad array of ecosystem goods and services, which are being threatened by regional population growth, urbanization, gentrification, economic development, climate change, and other factors. System dynamics modeling provided an interdisciplinary platform in which to investigate the sustainability of these unique systems. First, we describe the background and context of acequia communities in northern New Mexico and the challenges they face. We then develop a Dynamic Hypothesis capturing the endogenous feedbacks driving acequia community erosion. It is hypothesized that as community erosion accelerates due to forcing function variables (described above), ecosystem goods and services delivered to local and regional stakeholders will weaken. We then describe the major stock-and-flow components of the model and evaluate early calibration efforts against existing data. We find these early model results conform well to existing data and structure and provide a well-grounded platform for future model testing.