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Basin level modelling for water allocation is one of the planning instruments that can help optimize water allocation among competing water uses and users in response to changing water availability – either seasonal, or long term. The key objective of modelling exercises for water allocation is to determine how to best optimize available resources among competing users, and to assess potential trade-offs of the same, while ensuring that enough water is left for the environment. Modelling various allocation scenarios can help managers to allocate scarce resources in ways that are most environmentally sound, but also economically beneficial for the society. Examples include model predictions on available seasonal water supply, sustainable extraction rates for ensuring environmental flows, estimations of the minimum amount of water required for irrigation, minimum requirements needed for hydropower generation needs, as well as maximizing economic benefits by allocating water for specific priority uses.
In addition to seasonal forecasting, similar models can be used to project the implications of future climate change on availability of water resources (e.g. in basin), and help inform both infrastructure development and land use planning decisions.