Groundwater modelling needs a context to make sense. This context is set by a decision that must be made, by those who must make that decision, and by those who are affected by it. The context for the decision itself is set by adverse consequences that groundwater management seeks to avoid.
Ty Ferré from University of Arizona has put together a short, interactive video on the conceptual basis of decision support modelling. This video explains why decision-support modelling is a necessarily subjective, fluid and collegiate activity, whose evolving design must be illuminated by the decision that it is intended to support.
Modelling depends on data. In fact, it gives data a voice. Data has the capacity to reduce the uncertainties of decision-critical predictions. If done in innovative ways, decision-support modelling may be able to identify “discriminatory data” that separates two predictive possibilities. Or it may sharpen the definition of risks that cannot be avoided.
Rarely can modelling foretell what will happen in the environmental future. However it can suggest data acquisition strategies that empower it to foretell what will NOT happen in the future if certain decisions are taken. In doing so, it becomes a fluid activity that encapsulates collegiate implementation of the scientific method, directed at the making of decisions that all can live with, or at least that decision-makers can justify.