17 Jan 2022
17 Jan 2022
Status: a revised version of this preprint is currently under review for the journal HESS.

Cooperation under conflict: participatory hydrological modeling for science policy dialogues in the Aculeo Lake

Anahi Ocampo-Melgar1, Pilar Barria1,2, Cristian Chadwick3, and Cesar Rivas1 Anahi Ocampo-Melgar et al.
  • 1Facultad de Ciencias Forestales y de la Conservación de la Naturaleza, Universidad de Chile, Santiago, Chile
  • 2Departamento de Ciencias de la Ingeniería, Universidad de los Lagos, Puerto Montt, Chile
  • 3Facultad de Ingeniería y Ciencias, Universidad Adolfo Ibáñez, Santiago, Chile

Abstract. Hydrological modeling tools can support collaborative decision processes by visually displaying hydrological systems connections, uncertainties and gaps, as well as conflicting preferences over water management strategies. Nevertheless, many challenges remain in the real application of these technical tools to successfully implement, capture, and communicate to non-experts the complexities of coupled human hydrological systems and effectively support science policy dialogues. The disappearance of a 12 km2 lake in the Aculeo basin in Chile led to increasing socio environmental conflicts over the causes and effects of the water scarcity. A traditionally WEAP based hydrological model study aiming to explore the causes of the lake desiccation, was transformed into a multiple question driven socio hydrological modeling process to help answer the diversity of questions instigating conflict. The surface aquifer hydrological model tested a subset of socially accepted management strategies under two climate change scenarios, showing that combining more low impact, but socially acceptable adaptation measures such as using the out of season irrigation surplus (March to May), improving irrigation efficiency for agriculture industry and decreasing the grass surface in new urbanizations, would allow to recover up to half the Lake water volume even under a pessimistic climate change scenario. As presented in this article, flexible approaches and research agendas could better support the exploration of synergies towards collaboration and production of useful and socially acceptable hydrological models and water management strategies.

Anahi Ocampo-Melgar et al.

Status: final response (author comments only)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on hess-2021-643', Leon Hermans, 04 Mar 2022
    • AC1: 'Reply on RC1', Anahi Ocampo-Melgar, 29 Mar 2022
  • RC2: 'Comment on hess-2021-643', Anonymous Referee #2, 11 Mar 2022
    • AC2: 'Reply on RC2', Anahi Ocampo-Melgar, 29 Mar 2022

Anahi Ocampo-Melgar et al.

Anahi Ocampo-Melgar et al.


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Short summary
A WEAP based hydrological model study exploring the causes of a lake desiccation, was transformed into a multiple question driven process to help answer the diversity of questions instigating conflict in a parallel collaborative process. The identification and evaluation of strategies allowed to better adjust the model, address questions that were causing suspicions and conflicts, while identifying a combination of strategies that were of moderate impact, but of higher local acceptability.