About the game

What is it?

Aqua Republica is a new online strategic game that helps raise awareness and educate stakeholders of the importance and challenges of managing limited natural resources in the face of multiple and often competing demands in the drive towards sustainable development.

Who is it for?

Entry level water managers and policy makers, as well as universities, schools and anyone who is interested in, or should be interested in, sustainable development.

What can be gained from it?

  • Build capacity and increase knowledge on water resources management
  • Learn to balance developmental needs with water resources and the environment
  • Learn to manage conflicts in the use of water with other stakeholders
  • Learn to collaborate with other players to maximise transboundary developments

How can that be done?

By experiencing decisions-making in a realistic and interactive learning environment, with real time simulation of hydrological processes, developments and water resources management options.

Why is there a need?

There are critical connections between social and economic developments and environmental sustainability, with water being an essential building block. Unfortunately these linkages are not widely recognized. The aim of this game is to raise awareness and to provide education that utilizes on new technological trends.

What are these trends?

There has been a leap of technology developments in online social networking, giving “viral phenomenon” a new definition. It describes how thoughts, information and trends move into and through a human population with the use of online social networks, analogous to the spread of viruses. Aqua Republica is built with social networks in mind.

“Gamification” on the other hand, is the use of game design techniques and game mechanics to solve problems and engage audiences. It is also one of the most important trends in communication technology.

What other benefits are there?

  • Aqua Republica provides a flexible and continuous online learning platform for organisations interested in natural resource management
  • It also offers a fun way to encourage integrated water resources management proficiency by gauging and tracking players’ progress

What is the game concept?

Aqua Republica is a serious game where a realistic simplification of the real world is created for players to play and learn—by personal experience, about the conflicts and trade-offs that exist in a river basin.

What is it like to play it?

Alone or together with groups of players, you plan and develop a river basin with multiple stakeholders. Your area initially contains a river, a small urban area that includes some businesses and light industry, a few farms and a small power station. Your aim is to create prosperous living conditions for the population in a healthy and sustainably managed environment.

As time moves on, drivers such as population growth, climate change and actions of other players, force you to adapt to survive and thrive. For example, you may need to decide to clear a forest area to open up land to expand industry. However, developments are costly, take time to implement, impact the environment and other users, as well as your score.

How would you balance all the developmental needs while taking care of the environment and other players?

How can I learn from playing?

Serious games that are well designed yield “meaningful play”, a condition very much like learning. Aqua Republica focuses on meaningful play to engage players and to educate them about the complex relationships between developmental actions in a river basin and the natural environment as well as their consequences


How realistic is it?

The game mechanics revolve around real science. Numerical computational models (MIKE BASIN from DHI) are used in real-time to generate a realistic game environment especially in terms of water resources and hydrology. This allows players to also gain an insight into working with nature while developing their communities.