Basin Economic Allocation Model (BEAM) is an economic model for water use in the Aral Sea Basin, developed in 2012 by IFAS and USAID project team consisting of experts from DHI, COWI and Global Water Partnership CACENA. The model was developed in order to explore whether it may be possible to change existing water allocation patterns in ways that enhance overall welfare in the Aral Sea basin.
The BEAM model assesses and allocates water across time and space to different uses so that the economic welfare associated with water use is maximized.. It differs from most other water planning models with respect to the way in which water is allocated by the model.
In most other river basin planning models, water is allocated using fixed demands and/or prioritization schemes that satisfy some water uses before others (e.g., household use may take priority over irrigation). In the BEAM representation, water is allocated according to economic optimization criteria that are based on the principles of effectiveness, efficiency and equity.
BEAM is developed as a decision support system to facilitate putting “value on water use” and sustainable use of water resources in support of the countries development. The model estimates welfare changes associated with changes to how water is allocated between the five countries in the Basin (Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan; water use in Afghanistan is assumed to be fixed).