About 25 percent of the world's freshwater resources are found in the ground. Groundwater is especially hard to manage; unsustainable abstraction and contamination of aquifers is widespread.
Efficient and sustainabel grounwater governance can help ensure that both demand and supply are managed sustainably, while protecting the quality of this common resource.
"Aquifer Game" is a boardgame that was designed to illustrate interactions amongst stakeholders within a grounwater fed system. A joint decision making platform based on sustainable practices, the game encourages cooperation through empathy. The game is played on a board in which marbles run down a tilted board simulating gravity--along different channels made of wood symbolizing groundwater abstraction. The different channels represent groundwater wells and vary according to size of various boreholes, pumps and energy costs. Groundwater flow is represented by colored marbles trickling down channels into different plots.
The theoretical rationale behind this tool is grounded on a practical approach based on social learning, as an alternative policy instrument. Development of the game is informed by a case study of groundwater overexploitation in Aquifer 23, La Mancha, Spain.
Create a virtual version of "Aquifer Game". Having a mobile and internet version of the game would help get the lessons of Aquifer Game to a wider audience, including those living in remote areas. The game could be multiplayer - either turn pass or networked. Each user (farm, city, industry) can choose to use their turn to pump or trade their water. Each turn, users also leak some pullutants back into the aquifer, so everyone losses if users can't learn to share water equitably. Unless they succeed in sharing the water equitably, they'll contaminate the sou
RULESThe objective of the game is for every water user (farm, city, industry) to get the groundwater they need. Each user has different water needs and pump capacity. Since water is limited, users need to learn to cooperate in order to succeed. But hurry! The longer the game takes, the more contaminants (fertilizer, feces, heavy metals) leak back into the aquifer.
Scenario 1: Bring game on laptop or ipad to meeting of groundwater users. Have them play, then switch roles. Discuss.
Scenario 2: Multiple users play each other virtually on-line from different locations.
Scenario 3: Single user plays by themself, tries to balance water needs of all three sectors (farming, city, industry), posts record times on-line.
Give the user a chance to choose which country they want to work on. Different countries sector water demands varies widely. Developing countries typically abstract groundwater for agriculture, whereas developed countries typically use a lot water in industry.
Use the real stats at http://www.fao.org/nr/water/aquastat/water_use/index.stm and http://www.fao.org/nr/water/aquastat/dbase/index.stm