Juan is a transdisciplinary systems modeller working at the interface of water resource management and computational social science. He combines numerical modelling, systems thinking and complexity science to better understand the interactions between water and society. Juan is currently pioneering the use of interactive agent-based policy simulators to engage stakeholders in the exploration of future trajectories and improve policy decisions in socio-environmental dilemmas. He has extensive research experience in complex systems, hydrologic modelling, and water resources management, working for industry and government in Australia and overseas in some of driest regions in the world. Juan’s career goals are to lead interdisciplinary investigations on problems of social importance and help communities uncover win-win solutions to social, economic and environmental dilemmas
PhD in Agent-based Modelling, 2017
University of New South Wales, Australia
MEngSc in Water Resources, 2012
University of New South Wales, Australia
BEng in Civil Engineering (water and environmental), 2006
Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Chile
I combine and use in my research, teaching, supervision, and training
Some of the amazing people I have the privilege to work with
Water/Environmental Law, Water/Environmental Governance, Natural Resource Management
Urban Planning and policy, Complexity-based modelling, Participatory modelling exploration, Socio-ecological systems
Climate change adaptation, Water resources management, Public policy
Students that I’ve mentored as their advisor and/or are currently working with me.
Socio-environmental systems, Behavioural science, Social influence, Persuasion, Participatory modelling
Simulation Modelling and Analysis, Interactive Simulation and Intelligent Systems, Sentiment analysis and opinion mining
Socio-hydrology, Hydroinformatics, Bibliometric analysis, Python
Stakeholder engagement, Planning and approval processes, Participatory modelling
Groundwater depletion is arguably one of humanity's greatest sustainability challenges of the 21st century. With Sustainable Development Goals only a decade away, water authorities around the world are in the urgent need for concrete and targeted measures to ensure that communities adhere to groundwater management policies as rapidly and as effectively as possible. In this paper, we combine computational social science, groundwater modelling and empirical data from the World Values Survey to generate future ensembles of hydro-social trajectories under alternative courses of management and social action or inaction. Our simulations shed new light on the role that cultural values can play in shaping the societal trajectories and norms that emerge when resources are either allocated or not sufficiently allocated to monitor compliance, issue fines, engage community leaders, and deter rule-breakers. This study presents a new approach to explore and evaluate the capacity of existing and future management actions to steer groundwater systems towards sustainable trajectories, to forecast the celerity and timing of social transformations at the inter-decadal scale, and to help nations identify the most pertinent management options under institutional, political, social, and/or cultural constraints. The methods presented here are broadly applicable to support strategic decisions that rely on the monitoring, enforcement, and compliance of environmental regulations.
Groundwater is critical to global food security, environmental flows, and millions of rural livelihoods in the face of climate change. Although a third of Earth’s largest groundwater basins are being depleted by irrigated agriculture, little is known about the conditions that lead resource users to comply with conservation policies. Here we developed an agent-based model of irrigated agriculture rooted in principles of cooperation and collective action and grounded on the World Values Survey Wave 6 (n = 90,350). Simulations of three major aquifer systems facing unsustainable demands reveal tipping points where social norms towards groundwater conservation shift abruptly with small changes in cultural values and monitoring and enforcement provisions. These tipping points are amplified by group size and best invoked by engaging a minority of rule followers. Overall, we present a powerful tool for evaluating the contingency of regulatory compliance upon cultural, socioeconomic, institutional and physical conditions, and its susceptibility to change beyond thresholds. Managing these thresholds may help to avoid unsustainable groundwater development, reduce enforcement costs, better account for cultural diversity in transboundary aquifer management and increase community resilience to changes in regional climate. Although we focus on groundwater, our methods and findings apply broadly to other resource management issues.