Complex Problems, Collaborative Solutions — Playing Games for Better Water Management Outcomes

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Video gaming for water resource management? Gaming is one of the fastest growing entertainment industries in the U.S., with estimates that 42% of Americans play video games regularly. How can we harness this interest in gaming for better water management outcomes?

When we play a game, we employ creative problem-solving skills in a rule-structured environment in order to achieve a challenging, clearly defined goal (e.g. completing a quest, solving a puzzle, or defeating an opponent). What if we could direct the creative energies, clever strategies and collaborative teamwork of games toward complex, real-world ends with serious stakes, like reducing the risks of drought or floods, facilitating public involvement in environmental governance, or revitalizing our watershed’s ecosystems? The U.S. Corps of Engineers is doing just that, applying gaming approaches to educate community members, inform decisions and foster dialogue and collaboration on issues ranging from reducing flood risk in Nevada, balancing drought and flood risk mitigation in San Antonio (TX) and mitigating the effects of storm surges and sea level rise in Hampton, VA.

In this recorded webinar, U.S. Corps of Engineers staff share how they’re developing games to help communities across the country accomplish just such goals. “Game gurus” Andrea Carson and Hunter Merritt each describe a different approach to “serious gaming” under development by the Corps. They are joined by local representatives who have applied these gaming approaches in their communities with a variety of local participants.