What is the role of the model in socio-hydrology? Discussion of “Prediction in a socio-hydrological world”*

Lieke Anna Melsen*, Jeroen Vos, Rutgerd Boelens

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


Srinivasan et al. provide an interesting overview of the challenges for long-term socio-hydrological predictions. Although agreeing with most of the statements made, we argue for the need to take socio-hydrological analysis a step further and add some fundamental considerations, especially concerning the crucial importance of many (conscious and unconscious) assumptions made upfront of the modelling exercise. Eventual assumptions of technological determinism need correction: Models are not “value-free”, but uncertain, subjective and a product of the society in which they were shaped. It is important to acknowledge this uncertainty and bias when making decisions based on socio-hydrological models, considering also that these models are “social and political actors” in and by themselves. Furthermore, socio-hydrological models require a transdisciplinary approach, since physical water availability is only one of the boundary conditions for society. Last but not least, interaction with stakeholders remains important to enable understanding of what the variable of interest is.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to) 1435-1443
JournalHydrological Sciences Journal
Issue number9
Early online date7 Aug 2018
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • modelling
  • prediction
  • socio-hydrology
  • socio-natural relationships
  • transdisciplinarity

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'What is the role of the model in socio-hydrology? Discussion of “Prediction in a socio-hydrological world”<sup>*</sup>'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this