Modelling and Decision Support for Integrated Water Management

Anthony John Jakeman (B.Sc., Ph.D., FIEMSS, FMSSANZ, FIMA)

Tony Jakeman is Professor, Fenner School of Environment and Society, and Director of the Integrated Catchment Assessment and Management Centre, The Australian National University. He has been an Environmental Scientist and Modeller for 35 years and has over 300 reviewed publications in the open literature. His early career background is in applied mathematical modelling and hydrology. Interests include integrated assessment methods and decision support systems for water and associated land resource problems, including modelling and management of water supply and quality problems in relation to climate, land use and policy changes and their effects on biophysical and socioeconomic outcomes.

Jakeman has undertaken research projects and consultancies for AusAID, the Murray-Darling Basin Commission/Authority, many Australian federal, state and local government agencies, and Catchment Management Authorities, often working as project leader. For example he is leader of the Integration programs in two federally funded Centres: one is the Commonwealth Environmental Research Facility known as Landscape Logic (; and the other is the recently funded National Centre for Groundwater Research and Training ( He has held visiting positions at Stanford, Cambridge and Lancaster Universities, CSIRO and the US Geological Survey; and is Adjunct Professor at the University of Western Australia.

Scientific and organisational activities include: Editor-in-Chief, Environmental Modelling and Software (Elsevier) since 1996 – a 2009 Impact Factor of 3.058; Foundation President, International Environmental Modelling and Software Society (2000-2006) and elected Fellow (2004); President and Fellow (2009), Modelling and Simulation Society of Australia and New Zealand, Inc.; Vice-President, International Association for Mathematics and Computers in Simulation (2009 – ); International Advisory Board of the C.T. de Wit Graduate School for Production Ecology and Resource Conservation, Wageningen University (2008 – ); and regularly a member of scientific advisory committees of international conferences.

Modelling and Decision Support for Integrated Water Management

Anthony J Jakeman
iCAM, Fenner School of Environment and Society, and
National Centre for Groundwater Research and Training
The Australian National University


More effective management of water resources and informed catchment planning necessarily requires ongoing integration and sharing of knowledge from several dimensions. It requires among other things

  • A whole of water cycle approach that integrates the interactions of surface water with other components of the store, predominantly groundwater, lakes and estuaries
  • Attention to major issues for which trading-off of outcomes is essential
  • Assessment of socioeconomic and environmental impacts under a range of scenarios
  • Specification of a plausible range of scenarios that might affect outcomes including management options and uncontrollable drivers like climate variations and demographic changes
  • Attention to governance issues for making and implementing sound decisions
  • Recognition of opportunities and capacity for adaptation across heterogeneous communities

The complex dimensions of this integration cry out for a modelling process that offers to facilitate

  • Framing of the issues, questions and indeed methods to be considered
  • Systematic accrual, representation and analysis of information that is conventional and unconventional, quantitative and qualitative
  • Contribution to the knowledge base from a diverse range of sources and stakeholders
  • Accountability and transparency; sharing and updating of the system understanding
  • Identification of knowledge gaps and the design of experiments that are crucial to clarifying management options
  • Management of uncertainties by identifying them, reducing them where possible and communicating their effect on the options being considered

This talk will attempt to illustrate these elements of the modelling process for water management through several case studies. It will show that that there are several useful paradigms or frameworks for undertaking integrated modelling, and identify the relevance of each to particular situations. It will discuss the opportunities that decision support systems offer to capture knowledge, share it and promote agreed outcomes.

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