project

Development of Water Transition Instrumentarium (Groningen case)

The development of a serious game should provide all stakeholders in the water cycle with a clear understanding of the significance of water, of how the freshwater provision works, and of the impact of choices on water availability. The three-year ‘Serious game to support Water Transition planning’ project, under the Joint Research Programme/WiCE programme, aims to make the expected water demand and supply under different scenarios accessible and interactive in area planning processes. In this way, all of the parties can work together on solutions for the regional freshwater provision. The serious game developed in the present project willl be applied to the Water Transition Groningen case.

A sufficient availability of freshwater for all purposes, such as for drinking water, industry, agriculture and nature, today and in the future, cannot be taken for granted. In the particular case of the Province of Groningen, large water courses are absent and the availability of fresh groundwater is limited. The dry summers of the last three years brought these constraints into stronger focus. It is not inconceivable that such summers, and even more intense drought periods, will become more frequent in the future, with an inevitable impact on the availability of water.

Strong and growing water demand

At the same time, there is a strong and growing demand for water in the Province of Groningen. This is especially the case in the industrial sites (chemicals, bio-based and energy) adjoining the two North Sea ports of Eemshaven and Delfzijl, which will be the main drivers behind further water demand growth in the future. This increasing pressure on the water system requires that the problem be analysed in its entirety, together with all stakeholders, so that solutions can be developed jointly.

Understanding the water system with serious game

The objective of this project is to develop a serious game, which will make the expected water demand and supply under different scenarios accessible and interactively available for use in area planning processes. In this manner, all stakeholders – whether or not they have specialised water knowledge – will gain a clear understanding of the significance of water, of how the freshwater provision works, and of the impact of choices on water availability.

The serious game makes it possible to engage, together with regional stakeholders, in easily accessible discussions about the challenges of a sustainable water system and possible solutions. This builds support for measures and system choices. The serious game is being structured in such a manner that it can be applied to different cases. To develop the serious game, the present project has chosen the case of the Groningen Water Transition for the first application. This case provides an illustration of the kinds of questions for which the serious game can be used.

From game design to testing with stakeholders

This project is part of the Water in the Circular Economy research programme (Joint Research Programme/WiCE). In the project, KWR, WLN and Waterbedrijf Groningen are collaborating with experts in serious gaming from NHL Stenden University of Applied Sciences (Friesland) and the University of Exeter (United Kingdom). To begin with, the broad outlines of a game design will be developed in a number of workshops with the project team. The elaboration of the objectives and design specifications will then be done on the basis of a stakeholder and water-system analysis. Regional stakeholders, such as Water Authorities, industry, the port authority, municipalities, nature and agricultural organisations, will contribute to the project through an associated project supervisory group. The serious game will be further developed on the basis of this input, and will then finally be played with stakeholders in the region.

Different aspects and abstraction levels of the water transition in Groningen.