Abstract for: Advancing cross-disciplinary research on transboundary groundwater systems through group model building

Water stored below earth’s surface, known as groundwater, serves as the main source of freshwater for over two bil-lion people around the world. Climate change has exacerbated global depletion trends for these critical resources. Navigating challenges associated with groundwater depletion becomes increasingly complex when these resources, known as transboundary aquifers, are shared between multiple countries. Participatory modeling approaches maintain the unique potential to bring together researchers, stakeholders, and decision makers with the collective expertise necessary to understand the complex human, hydrologic, and climate interconnections that affect transboundary groundwater systems. This paper explores findings from a two-day virtual workshop in September 2022 that utilized group model building to capture the mental models regarding transboundary aquifers from a group of cross-disciplinary researchers within the Transboundary Groundwater Resilience Network of Networks. The successes and lessons learned from the workshop further demonstrate the challenges associated with capturing the complexity of transboundary aquifers, as well as the potential for participatory methodologies to advance use-inspired research of not only shared groundwater but water resources more broadly.