Modeling the water consumption of Singapore using system dynamics

Modeling the water consumption of Singapore using system dynamics
Karen M. Noiva Welling
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Water resources are essential to life, and in urban areas, the high demand density and finite local resources often engender conditions of relative water scarcity. To overcome this scarcity, governments intensify infrastructure and project demand into the future. Growth in the economy, population, and affluence of cities increase water demand, and water demand for many cities will increase into the future, requiring additional investments in water infrastructure. More sustainable policies for water will require capping socioeconomic water demand and reducing the associated demand for non-renewable energy and material resources. The thesis consists of the formulation of a System Dynamics model to replicate historic trends in water consumption for the growing city of Singapore. The goal of the model is to provide a platform for assessing socioeconomic demand trends relative to current water resources and water management policies and for examining how changes in climate and infrastructure costs might impact water availability over time. The model was calibrated to historical behavior and scenarios examined the vulnerability of supply to changing demand, climate, and cost. The outcome is a qualitative dynamic assessment of the circumstances under which Singapore's current policies allow them to meet their goals. Singapore was chosen as the case study to demonstrate the methodology, but in the future, the model will be applied to other cities to develop a typology of cities relative to water resources.
Open Access
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