Aaron Mead, Ph.D, P.E., Exponent
Susan Paulsen, Ph.D., P.E., Exponent
Max Henrion, Ph.D., Lumina Decision Systems
California’s recent Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) requires Groundwater Sustainability Agencies (GSAs) to “consider the interests of all beneficial uses and users of groundwater” in developing Groundwater Sustainability Plans (GSPs) (§10723.2). Users of groundwater and interested parties include representatives of the agricultural industry, landowners with overlying pumping rights, municipal water suppliers, industrial and residential water users, recreational users of surface waters, local land-use authorities, environmental groups, and representatives of county, state, federal, and tribal governments. Given the divergent concerns of these parties, the development of GSPs is likely to involve difficult tradeoffs and to be highly controversial. SGMA encourages stakeholders to take a collaborative, consensus-driven approach to developing GSPs so GSAs can avoid expensive and time-consuming legal proceedings or state intervention.
Decision support models are ideally suited to facilitate this collaborative approach. This presentation will begin with a brief look at the successful application of decision support modeling to a highly controversial and structurally similar problem: developing a decommissioning policy for oil platforms off the coast of Southern California. The presentation will show how decision support tools can be applied to develop GSPs and will present a conceptual-level model for a hypothetical groundwater basin developed using the decision support software Analytica®. Decision support models like this offer a transparent approach to developing GSPs by engaging stakeholders in identifying objectives and decision options. Decision support models can rigorously integrate both quantitative and qualitative effects of proposed plans, including infrastructure costs and impacts on water rights, surface water-groundwater ecosystems, and groundwater storage, while addressing external factors such as climate change and drought.
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Dr. Aaron Mead is a Managing Engineer in the Environmental & Earth Sciences Practice at Exponent. He has over 21 years of experience solving a broad range of water resource engineering problems. His experience spans projects involving hydrodynamic, hydrologic, water quality, groundwater, and geomorphic analysis. He has expertise in water quality policy and in a range of surface water and groundwater modeling applications. Dr. Mead holds a B.S. and M.S. in civil engineering from Stanford. In addition to his engineering credentials, Dr. Mead has a Ph.D. in philosophy from UCLA with a specialty in ethical theory. He has taught courses in philosophy at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech), UCLA, and Azusa Pacific University. He is interested in the ethics of water management, including the role of values in water resource decision-making.
Dr. Susan Paulsen is a Principal Engineer and the Director of the Environmental & Earth Sciences Practice at Exponent. She has 25 years of experience with projects involving hydrodynamics, aquatic chemistry, and the environmental fate of a range of constituents. She has provided expert testimony on matters involving the Clean Water Act, state water quality regulations, and water rights issues in California, and she provides scientific and strategic consultation on matters involving Superfund (CERCLA) and Natural Resources Damages (NRD). She has expertise designing and implementing field and modeling studies of surface water, groundwater and sediments. Dr. Paulsen holds a B.S. and M.S. in civil engineering from Stanford and Caltech, respectively, and a Ph.D. in Environmental Engineering Science from Caltech.
Dr. Max Henrion has 25 years of experience as a researcher, educator, software designer, consultant, and entrepreneur, specializing in the design and effective use of decision technologies. He is the Founder and CEO of Lumina Decision Systems. He has led teams to create decision-support tools in a wide variety of applications, including energy, environment, R&D management, healthcare, telecommunications, aerospace, security, and consumer choice. He is the lead designer of Lumina’s flagship product line, Analytica®
John Lambie, PE, PG, CWRE is a principal hydrogeologist with E-PUR, LLC, a water resource consultancy. John conducts water supply planning with an emphasis on groundwater and conjunctive water use options. He regularly applies his expertise in hydrogeologic modeling, wellfield exploration and design, and many other forms of quantitative analysis. John has experience in evaluating managed aquifer recharge options using surface waters to ensure water-supplies against quantity and quality risks.