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Xanthe Polaine

Applying game theory to water resource management.

Project title

Application of game theory in water resource management: providing a better understanding of decision-making for water security issues


Project description

This project is part of the Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) Water Security and Sustainable Development Hub at Newcastle University.

Game theory is a branch of normative decision theory. It is used in analysis of decision-making processes between players. Applications lie in basic problem solving, strategic mapping, and best solution identification. In the simplest form, it seeks to resolve two core elements of a given strategic situation:

  • How do players behave?
  • How should players behave?

Traditionally, fields such as economics, and computer and social science use game theory. Its utilisation for water resource issues has been under investigation for the past few decades. Game theory in water resource management has an advantage over analytical optimisation models. It can incorporate elements of higher complexity other than those associated directly with finance and cost, present in the traditional engineering approach. It can provide assessment of multi-party, multi-objective strategic behaviour with a social and political context.

This project will extend research in this field. In particular, we will investigate a more efficient preference modelling strategy. We will include potential insights into descriptive decision-theory and how this may be influenced. We will develop negotiation matrices in computer optimisation modelling.

By doing this, we will reach a better understanding of decision-making in water resource issues. Thus, we will achieve a more equitable approach to those involved in the decision-making process