Thesis subject

Simulating Tourism Water Consumption with Stakeholders

The SIMTWIST project is the abbreviation for Simulating Tourism Water Consumption with Stakeholders. This project intends to carry out transdisciplinary research, connecting the macro-level (water scarcity) with the micro-level (behavior of tourist consumers). The project has five Work Packages, but as WUR we are responsible of WP 4, which involves Participatory Modeling, where we intend to involve stakeholders related to tourism water consumption, from the beginning throughout the whole life cycle of the project, making them be part of the project by contributing with their knowledge at the moment of drawing the water system, how decisions are taken, how interactions are, etc. This will include also a role-playing game where we will have a deeper insight on decision-making and social interactions. In WP 5 (the final output of the project), is where the ABM comes. Here we intend to combine all of the other WP as means of input information to draw the baseline model.

While water demand is projected to increase, water availability will likely decrease, at least in the Mediterranean region. The simultaneous phenomena of climate change and tourism growth pose challenges to both the water utilities and the tourism industry. The challenges are particularly great in the dry summer season, when the demand is maximum and the water availability is minimum1.

To meet these challenges, scenarios for future supply and demand are essential. The water utilities needs such scenarios to inform investment decisions on capacity, whereas the tourism industry needs them to evaluate the risk and implications of water shortages, and the options to reduce their own water consumption.

1 EEA (2010). The European Environment State and Outlook 2010. Water resources: quantity and flows. EEA, Copenhagen.

The general objective is to improve the understanding of the tourism water footprint and to help reduce tourism stakeholders’ contributions to water scarcity in tourism destinations by informing public and private decision-makers about the effectiveness of different types of interventions. Therefore, the aim is to explore through an Agent-Based Model, how the modification of policy measures will impact tourism water demand. First, we will need to build a baseline model that shows how the system works and how stakeholders interact. Then, by incorporating different scenarios (i.e. likelihood of droughts due to climate change, policy modifications, etc.) as inputs, assess how the system will respond to all these changes.


  • Amelung et. al. (2019). Simulating tourism water consumption with stakeholders (SIMTWIST). Proposal for Water JPI.


  • Desirable: INF-50806 Agent-Based Modelling of complex adaptive systems

Research area/discipline: Computational social simulation, Agent-based modelling

Contact persons

  • Maria Reyes (
  • Gert-Jan Hofstede (