Presenter/Author Information

H. Kieken

Keywords

seine river, modelling, backcasting, prospective, future research

Start Date

1-7-2002 12:00 AM

Description

For years policy makers and researchers involved in the management of the Seine river basin haveshared a common representation of the system's structure and behaviour: Paris, in the centre, divides thewatershed into two very unequal parts, a "clean" upstream and the downstream where environmentalproblems occur due to Paris sewage. This representation resulted in both (1) a focus of the attention and theefforts of policy makers on the downstream area and (2) the structuring of scientific research on the SeineRiver in a very dissymmetric way, including the features of the models developed within the 12-year old andstill ongoing research programme dedicated to the area. Hence, we were led to attempt studying theconsequences of changing the watershed's spatial segmentation by considering a hypothetical future state ofthe river basin in which the city of Paris would be suffering from sewage discharged upstream. Exploringsuch "surprise-based scenario" using a "backcasting" approach raised both methodological issues of couplingstructural changes in socio-economic scenarios with existing bio-geo-chemical models and some interestinglessons on the watershed behaviour: a strong resilience of the river basin, the weak feedback of water qualityon the socio-economic dynamic (i.e. environmental considerations have little influence on the basin'sevolution), and a new illustration of the absence of significant stakes related to the quantitative managementof water.

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Jul 1st, 12:00 AM

Integrating structural changes in future research and modelling on the Seine River Basin

For years policy makers and researchers involved in the management of the Seine river basin haveshared a common representation of the system's structure and behaviour: Paris, in the centre, divides thewatershed into two very unequal parts, a "clean" upstream and the downstream where environmentalproblems occur due to Paris sewage. This representation resulted in both (1) a focus of the attention and theefforts of policy makers on the downstream area and (2) the structuring of scientific research on the SeineRiver in a very dissymmetric way, including the features of the models developed within the 12-year old andstill ongoing research programme dedicated to the area. Hence, we were led to attempt studying theconsequences of changing the watershed's spatial segmentation by considering a hypothetical future state ofthe river basin in which the city of Paris would be suffering from sewage discharged upstream. Exploringsuch "surprise-based scenario" using a "backcasting" approach raised both methodological issues of couplingstructural changes in socio-economic scenarios with existing bio-geo-chemical models and some interestinglessons on the watershed behaviour: a strong resilience of the river basin, the weak feedback of water qualityon the socio-economic dynamic (i.e. environmental considerations have little influence on the basin'sevolution), and a new illustration of the absence of significant stakes related to the quantitative managementof water.