Special Session on:
Optimization and Uncertainty Analysis of Water Resources from a Systems Perspective


Abhishek Singh, INTERA Incorporated
Genetha Gray, Sandia National Laboratory


Addressing complex, large-scale, real-world water resources problems requires an integrated systems approach that incorporates interactions/feedback between various components and considers uncertainty at multiple levels. Examples include: coupling Global Circulation Models (GCMs) with surface water and ground water models to predict future water supplies in conjunction with economic models to estimate future demand; abstracting and linking complex numerical models within a systems framework for performance assessment of waste disposal sites; combining results from multiple conceptual models for groundwater flow and transport predictions; and coupling hydrodynamic and ecological models to optimize management of coastal wetlands. Complex systems typically have conceptual uncertainties, multiple (possibly ill-posed) parameters, varying spatio-temporal scales and different levels of variability/heterogeneities in its system components. As such, challenges arise in linking the different components of the system and estimating/reducing the uncertainty in model predictions. Additional challenges are also inherent in using such models for water resources management and optimizing management decisions. Research frontiers include scaling and abstracting techniques that allow different system components to be linked together, use of multiple models to capture conceptual uncertainties, inverse approaches that integrate information from different sources, and novel optimization techniques to constrain parametric, predictive, and management uncertainty.

This session solicits abstracts that respond to such challenges by proposing innovative and practice-oriented approaches and demonstrations of new or current methods to complex real-world water resources problems. The focus will be on the 'systems perspective', wherein efforts are made to study the behaviors of a system as a whole in the context of its environment. Case-studies and experiences from real field cases are welcome.