Computer-supported games and role plays in teaching water management

A.Y. Hoekstra

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There is an increasing demand for an interdisciplinary approach in teaching water management. Computer-supported games and role plays offer the potential of creating an environment in which different disciplines come together and in which students are challenged to develop integrated understanding. Two examples are discussed. The River Basin Game is a common-pool resource game in which participants experience the risk of over-abstractions of water in a river basin and learn how this risk relates to the complexity of the system, the conflict between individual and group optimums and the difficulty in achieving good cooperation. The Globalization of Water Role Play makes participants familiar with the global dimension of water management by letting them experience how national governments can integrate considerations of water scarcity and domestic water productivities into decisions on international trade in commodities like food, cotton and bio-energy. The two examples illustrate that play sessions inspire participants to think about the functioning of systems as a whole and to develop good cooperative courses of action, whereby both uncertainties about the system and the presence of different values and perspectives among participants play a role.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2985-2994
JournalHydrology and earth system sciences
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2012


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