A system dynamics approach for regional environmental planning and management: A study for the Lake Erhai Basin
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In recent years, water-quality deterioration associated with rapid socio-economic development in the Lake Erhai Basin, China, has acquired more and more attention from the public and the government. An effective planning for the basin's environmental management system is desired for sustainable regional development. In this study, an environmental system dynamics model, named ErhaiSD, is developed for supporting this planning task. The ErhaiSD consists of dynamic simulation models that explicitly consider information feedback that governs interactions in the system. Such models are capable of synthesizing component-level knowledge into system behaviour simulation at an integrated level. This capability is very useful in analyzing and recommending policy decisions. For the study case, interactions among a umber of system components within a time frame of 15 years are examined dynamically. Four planning alternatives are considered. The base run is based on an assumption that the existing pattern of human activities will prevail in the entire planning horizon, and the other alternatives are based on previous planning studies. The contributions of various nonpoint pollution sources to the lake's eutrophication problems, and the effects of industrial activities and wastewater treatment processes on pollution problems in the Xier River are analyzed through the developed modeling system. The exercise draws attention to the implications of different alternatives to the system's environmental and socio-economic objectives. The modeling results are directly useful for simulating and evaluating a variety of decision actions and their dynamic consequences, and answering questions such as 'What should I do?', 'What if I do?' and 'What are the expected consequences?'.
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