Why won’t water managers use new scientific computer models?: The co-production of a perceived science-practice gap





computer modeling, water management, stakeholder, science, co-production


The uptake of scientific computer models in water management is challenging. Scientists often face calls to improve stakeholder engagement procedures. However, the involvement of representatives of water management agencies has been common practice in scientific projects for at least a decade. It is therefore questionable whether more stakeholder involvement would lead to greater use of scientific models in water management. This study suggests that computer modeling has historically developed differently in water science and water management. Scientific research has focused on continuous improvement of model process representation, while water management has emphasised usability. Today, the reliance on modeling software packages in water management, exacerbated by the dynamics in the field, mitigates against the adoption of new scientific modeling tools.


Beven, Keith (2019): How to make advances in hydrological modelling. In: Hydrology Research 50 (6), pp. 1481–1494. https://doi.org/10.2166/nh.2019.134 DOI: https://doi.org/10.2166/nh.2019.134

Bowen, Glenn (2009): Document analysis as a qualitative research method. In: Qualitative Research Journal 9 (2), pp. 27–40. https://doi.org/10.3316/QRJ0902027 DOI: https://doi.org/10.3316/QRJ0902027

Colosimo, Mark; Kim, Hynnok (2016): Incorporating innovative water management science and technology into water management policy. In: Energy, Ecology and Environment 1 (1), pp. 45–53. https://doi.org/10.1007/s40974-016-0013-z DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s40974-016-0013-z

Dyck, Siegfried (ed.) (1990): Integrated planning and management of water resources. (Guidance material for courses for engineers, planners and decision-makers). Available online at https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000155111, last accessed on 04. 02. 2023.

EA – Environment Agency (2021): Hydraulic modelling. Best practice (model approach). Available online at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/river-modelling-technical-standards-and-assessment/hydraulic-modelling-best-practice-model-approach, last accessed on 04. 02. 2023.

Horton, Pascal; Schaefli, Bettina; Kauzlaric, Martina (2021): Why do we have so many different hydrological models? A review based on the case of Switzerland. In: WIREs Water 9 (1), pp. 1–32. https://doi.org/10.1002/wat2.1574 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1002/wat2.1574

Jasanoff, Sheila (ed.) (2004): States of knowledge. The co-production of science and social order. Abingdon: Taylor & Francis.

Lange, Bettina; Cook, Christina (2015): Mapping a developing governance space. Managing drought in the UK. In: Current Legal Problems 68 (1), pp. 229–266. https://doi.org/10.1093/clp/cuv014 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1093/clp/cuv014

Latour, Bruno (2004): Why has critique run out of steam? From matters of fact to matters of concern. In: Critical inquiry 30 (2), pp. 225–248. https://doi.org/10.1086/421123 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1086/421123

OTA – US Office of Technology Assessment (1982): Use of models for water resources management, planning and policy. Available online at https://ota.fas.org/reports/8233.pdf, last accessed on 04. 02. 2023.

Refsgaard, Jens; Abbot, Michael (1996): The role of distributed hydrological modelling in water resources management. In Michael Abbot and Jens Refsgaard (eds.): Distributed hydrological modelling. Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers, pp. 1–16. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-009-0257-2_1 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-009-0257-2_1

Seibert, Jan; Bergström, Sten (2022): A retrospective on hydrological catchment modelling based on half a century with the HBV model. In: Hydrology and Earth System Sciences 26 (5), pp. 1371–1388. https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-26-1371-2022 DOI: https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-26-1371-2022

Todini, Ezio (2011): History and perspectives of hydrological catchment modelling. In: Hydrology Research 42 (2–3), pp. 73–85. https://doi.org/10.2166/nh.2011.096 DOI: https://doi.org/10.2166/nh.2011.096

Wardropper, Chloe; Brookfield, Andrea (2022): Decision-support systems for water management. In: Journal of Hydrology 610, p. 127928. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jhydrol.2022.127928 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jhydrol.2022.127928

Williams, Kate (2020): Playing the fields: Theorizing research impact and its assessment. In: Research Evaluation 29 (2), pp. 191–202. https://doi.org/10.1093/reseval/rvaa001 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1093/reseval/rvaa001

Wurbs, Ralph (1998): Dissemination of generalized water resources models in the United States. In: Water International 23 (3), pp. 190–198. https://doi.org/10.1080/02508069808686767 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/02508069808686767

Wurbs, Ralph (1994): Computer models for water resources planning and management. Available online at https://usace.contentdm.oclc.org/digital/collection/p16021coll2/id/3719/, last accessed on 04. 02. 2023.




How to Cite

Landström C. Why won’t water managers use new scientific computer models?: The co-production of a perceived science-practice gap. TATuP [Internet]. 2023 Mar. 23 [cited 2024 Apr. 19];32(1):36-42. Available from: https://www.tatup.de/index.php/tatup/article/view/7041