WaterSim DCDC

This is the Decision Center for a Deserrt City's WaterSim web site

The Challenge


Central Arizona is facing a water crisis, but not one of water shortage. Because the past century of leadership planned its water supplies to meet growing demands, Central Arizona has enough water to meet current and near-future needs.

In the 21st century, Arizona faces new challenges, including long-term drought, climate change impacts and austere public finances. These challenges require new approaches to water sustainability that focus on choices, priorities and smart investments.

The fundamental issue is how we will choose to use our available water to sustain our economy, quality of life and natural environment

The Tool


Arizona State University created the WaterSim model to estimate water supply and demand for the Phoenix Metropolitan Area. Users can explore how water sustainability is influenced by various scenarios of regional growth, drought, climate change impacts and water management policies.

WaterSim is a systems dynamics model. It is a “systems” model because it takes a lot of data that is usually collected separately – including water supply, water demand, climate, population and policy data – and puts it together to give the user a system-level view of how these variables interact. It is “dynamic” because users can change one variable and see how that change affects the other variables.

WaterSim is a visualization tool. Rather than poring over pages upon pages of charts and tables, users can view the data in graphic form. They can make side-by-side comparisons to understand how one variable relates to another. Launched in 2007, WaterSim is now in its fifth iteration, and can be viewed online, through a web API, or in person at ASU’s Decision Theater.

For more information and to access WaterSim 5.0