About Global Water Games

Global Water Games is a University of Virginia sustainability project that applies interactive multi-media game technology to watershed education and stewardship and to multi-sector capacity building for watershed policy innovation.

The first Global Water Games simulation was the UVA Bay Game, a computer-based participatory simulation of the Chesapeake Bay watershed launched in 2009 by a multi-disciplinary faculty and student team at the University of Virginia intent on revolutionizing classroom teaching about watersheds and watershed stewardship.

The UVA faculty team hypothesized that an interactive complex systems model would enable students to better understand the interrelatedness of different parts of the watershed, such as the built environment, ecological processes, economics, and policy, typically isolated in university courses. 

On Earth Day 2009 we demonstrated a first UVA Bay Game prototype.

Since then we have used gameplays with universities and high schools and with public and private sector organizations here and in Australia, Brazil, and Canada to improve and refine the UVA Bay Game. In gameplays we see strong correlations between information flow, collaboration, and innovation. Players begin play as individual actors but quickly partner to make collaborative decisions to achieve economic and environmental progress. Changes in information flow motivate collaboration, and it is in this behavior change that we see innovative solutions.

Public and private sector organizations see important applications of the UVA Bay Game technology for multi-sector stakeholder engagement and regional-scale policy innovation.

The UVA team recently completed a generalizable Global Water Games Template that will support the rapid development of a simulation of any watershed. In October 2012 at SXSW-Eco in Austin, UVA, Azure Worldwide, and The Nature Conservancy announced a collaboration to develop a Texas Water Game in the Guadalupe-San Antonio River basin that will highlight water conservation and water sharing, including water markets.

We seek partners for developing watershed simulations for education, research, and capacity-building for multi-sector policy innovation.






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