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Companion modelling within the project "a Stakeholder driven process to develop a catchment management plan for the Kat River Valley" : WRC Project n° K5/1496

Farolfi S., Müller J.P.. 2007. Montpellier : CIRAD, 20 p..

The main objective of the project "A Stakeholder driven process to develop a Catchment Management Plan (CMP) for the Kat River Valley" (the Kat Project hereafter) was to assist the Kat River Water Users Association (KRWUA) in the development of a CMP in which water is allocated and provided to the various users for the present and future requirements of these users and the Reserve (O'Keefe et al., 2004). An important aspect in the development of a CMP is represented by the negotiation and common decision-making process that must take place among the different water users nominated in the KRWUA board. Originally it was planned to simply calibrate the existing model, AWARE, to the Kat River Valley situation, and to use the resulting scenarios as the basis for discussion and negotiation within the KRWUA. However, in the beginning of the Kat Project and after one trip to Grahamstown and the Kat River Valley by a Cirad researcher, it was agreed by the project coordinators that instead of adapting the existing AWARE model to the Kat reality, a radically new model should be constructed, developed within the Companion Modelling (ComMod) process. is specific to each situation. The endless following cycle 'field work- modelling - simulation - field work again, etc.' corresponds to this concept. This leads to the acceptance of a diversity of models and methods, each contributing to a new kind of relationship between the simulation, the research itinerary, and the decision-making process" (ComMod Group, 2003, 4.1). Another important characteristic of ComMod is the joint use of Role-Playing Games (RPG) and models, particularly Multi-Agent Systems (MAS). "The association of an RPG with a MAS ... seems to provide a good way to explain the content of a model in order to validate it and to communicate upon its basis" (Barreteau et al., 2001, 5.9). Following the ComMod methodology, a MAS (KatAWARE) and a related RPG were developed to contribute to the process of building the capacity of stakeholders to actively participate in designing a platform and context for their negotiation process and to select decision-making criteria for their catchment (Farolfi and Rowntree, 2005). After having briefly presented the composition of the team involved in this action research process (2), the text that follows summarizes the ComMod process in the Kat (3) referring to the reports that explain each step and used tools in details. A discussion on the successes and shortcomings of the ComMod process in the Kat is then proposed (4) and final remarks and suggestions for the possible future adoption of this research methodology in the South African context are provided (5).

Mots-clés : gestion des eaux; eau d'infiltration; utilisation de l'eau; approvisionnement en eau; projet de recherche; prise de décision; modèle; afrique du sud; modélisation d'accompagnement; jeu de role; système multiagents

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