Title

Meeting the Water Needs of the People of Puerto Rico While Safeguarding Freshwater Ecosystems: A Case Study

Description/Abstract

The interconnected nature of the geography, history, culture and politics of Puerto Rico has created a water management crisis on the island. Addressing this crisis poses a wicked problem that involves multiple stakeholders and regulatory bodies and thus, cannot be easily solved. The water management crisis in Puerto Rico is currently exacerbated by climate change through instances of prolonged drought, variable precipitation, and increased frequency and intensity of storms, and this trend is expected to continue over the next several decades and beyond. Moreover, sea level rise threatens to completely displace coastal communities and cause ecosystems to migrate inland or become altogether eliminated.

This case study seeks to understand the water management crisis in Puerto Rico in a systems thinking perspective with a participatory modeling exercise, which examines the problem through the lenses of the invested stakeholders. In this way, the stocks and flows within the human and environmental systems were conceptually mapped by seven participants, the hazards and vulnerabilities were identified and weighed, and a range of likely futures that utilizes the latest in data science were postulated. After a thorough review of these variables, the participatory approach to interventions was utilized to develop a range of viable options that could move the trajectory of the system toward a desirable future. These interventions were subsequently linked to the Sustainable Development Goals proposed by the United Nations, and recommendations were developed accordingly.

Presenting Author Name/s

Anthony DeSocio, Lexi Watson, and Amanda De Vleeschower

Faculty Advisor

Eddie Hill

Presentation Type

Poster

Disciplines

Climate | Environmental Policy | Environmental Studies | Fresh Water Studies

Session Title

Poster Session

Location

Learning Commons, Atrium

Start Date

2-8-2020 8:00 AM

End Date

2-8-2020 12:30 PM

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Feb 8th, 8:00 AM Feb 8th, 12:30 PM

Meeting the Water Needs of the People of Puerto Rico While Safeguarding Freshwater Ecosystems: A Case Study

Learning Commons, Atrium

The interconnected nature of the geography, history, culture and politics of Puerto Rico has created a water management crisis on the island. Addressing this crisis poses a wicked problem that involves multiple stakeholders and regulatory bodies and thus, cannot be easily solved. The water management crisis in Puerto Rico is currently exacerbated by climate change through instances of prolonged drought, variable precipitation, and increased frequency and intensity of storms, and this trend is expected to continue over the next several decades and beyond. Moreover, sea level rise threatens to completely displace coastal communities and cause ecosystems to migrate inland or become altogether eliminated.

This case study seeks to understand the water management crisis in Puerto Rico in a systems thinking perspective with a participatory modeling exercise, which examines the problem through the lenses of the invested stakeholders. In this way, the stocks and flows within the human and environmental systems were conceptually mapped by seven participants, the hazards and vulnerabilities were identified and weighed, and a range of likely futures that utilizes the latest in data science were postulated. After a thorough review of these variables, the participatory approach to interventions was utilized to develop a range of viable options that could move the trajectory of the system toward a desirable future. These interventions were subsequently linked to the Sustainable Development Goals proposed by the United Nations, and recommendations were developed accordingly.