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Companion Modeling, Conflict Resolution, and Institution Building: Sharing Irrigation Water in the Lingmuteychu Watershed, Bhutan

Tayan Raj Gurung, RNR Research Centre, Council for RNR Research of Bhutan, Ministry of Agriculture, Bhutan
Francois Bousquet, CIRAD Green TA 60/15 Campus de Baillarguet 34398 Montpellier Cedex 5 France
Guy Trébuil, CIRAD Green TA 60/15 Campus de Baillarguet 34398 Montpellier Cedex 5 France; CU-Cirad Project Department of Biology Faculty of Science Chulalongkorn University Phayathai Road, Pathumwan Bangkok 10330 Thailand


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We used multi-agent systems (MAS), following the companion modeling method, to facilitate water management negotiations in Bhutan. We show how this methodology helped resolve a conflict over the sharing of water resources by establishing a concrete agreement and creating an institution for collective watershed management. The conceptual model begins with a role-playing game (RPG). The stakeholders play the game, thus validating the proposed environment, the behavioral rules, and the emergent properties of the game. It is then relatively easy to translate the RPG into computerized MAS that allow different scenarios to be explored. After this first step in the MAS model, stakeholders then create an institution. A second model is developed to facilitate this process. We conclude by discussing the relationship between the models and reality, as well as the use of MAS as a mediation tool and the social process.

Key words

Bhutan, companion modeling; multi-agent system; role-playing game; watershed management

Copyright © 2006 by the author(s). Published here under license by The Resilience Alliance. This article is under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. You may share and adapt the work provided the original author and source are credited, you indicate whether any changes were made, and you include a link to the license.

Ecology and Society. ISSN: 1708-3087