Water Metabolism

MuSIASEM of Water

Addressing water is no simple task. Water means something different for ecological and social processes and at the same time provides to both services that are irreplaceable. Easily said: the analysis of water use has many levels of complexity, which includes: the definition of water, the definition of the system, and within it, the definition of the relevant uses of water.

It is not the same to use water from a river or an aquifer, in an arid or a humid land. It is also not the same to use the water for agriculture or services, or to use it to maintain life. In the same way, the type of water used varies from one end use to another. Some waters are suitable to drink, some others are not.

    By Violeta Cabello

By Violeta Cabello

With MuSIASEM, we account the water requirements to maintain social functions in specific contexts and links them to the broader ecological metabolism of water. Using Georgescu-Roegen’s Flow/Fund model, we mainly categorize water as a flow for social systems and a fund for ecosystems. In societies, water supports the maintenance of the societal structure. In ecosystems, it forms an important part of the identity of the system and it is an element whose integrity is to be maintained. The Flow/fund model help us establishing a bridge between non-equivalent representations of water metabolism on different scales.

Even when this line of work is relatively new, applications of MuSIASEM to the analysis of water use are already being undertaken from local (urban), regional (river basin) and national (economy-wide) levels. For these purposes, specific grammars have been developed including flow/fund metabolic indicators such as Water Use Rate (WUR cubic meters/hour of human activity), Water Use Density (WUD cubic meters/hectare of land use), Water Energy Intensity (WEI Kwh/ cubic meter of water supplied), Ecosystem Water Requirements (EWR cubic meter/hectare of land ecosystem or cubic meter/second of aquatic ecosystem).

Our Case Studies

Cristina MADRID On the feasibility and viability of water use in Spain: a multi scale integrated analysis of societal and environmental metabolism of water.
Violeta CABELLO Societal and Ecosystems Water Metabolism in the Andarax river basin: assessment of Water Framework Directive scenarios
Juan CADILLO The metabolic role of water in the socioeconomic development of the metropolitan region of Lima (Peru)
Antonio MALO Water Metabolism in Cuenca