Abstract for: Lake to Puddle: A System Dynamics Approach to Social, Economic, and Environmental Consequences of Water Use in Udaipur, India

Water scarcity could define the modern era, as 67% of the world will experience water shortages by 2025. In Udaipur, India, shortages are already evident as lakes in the city dry to mere puddles every summer. The shortage in Udaipur results from the convergence of social, economic, and environmental factors and is especially detrimental due to the economic importance of lake tourism for city residents. Students from Washington University in St. Louis, in collaboration with the India Institute of Technology, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, and the Foundation for Ecological Security conducted a field study to investigate these shortages in greater depth. A system dynamics model was constructed in order to best examine: (1) interdependency of domestic, industrial, and tourist water use on the supply of Udaipurís water sources (2) areas for policy and conservation interventions to alleviate water shortages, and (3) areas of future research. While the availability of data limited the model that could be constructed, it allowed the authors to capture the interrelated factors influencing Udaipurís water supply. The collection of additional data will help test suggested interventions, which include reducing distribution losses, reducing water demand, and treating polluted water sources.