Community Dispute Resolution Role-Play:

Long River Confronting the Challenges of Instream Flow


Catherine Ashcraft and Larry Susskind

A six-party, seven-person (including the mediator), multi-issue mediation among representatives of governmental, business, environmental, recreational, and tribal interests regarding a dispute over developing an instream flow action plan


Please note: you must order a copy (a.k.a. license/usage fee) for every person participating in the simulation in your course. This simulation has multiple roles, so you will be unable to complete your purchase without meeting the minimum quantity requirement of copies per role.

Read more.

PON Teaching Negotiation Resource Center

Close window

Soft copy vs. hard copy

You may order this role simulation in either soft copy (electronic) or hard copy (paper) format. If you select the soft copy option, you will receive an e-mail with a URL (website address) from which you may download an electronic file in Adobe Acrobat PDF format. You will have one week to download your materials from when you receive the email. You are then only authorized to use, print, or share the materials as many times as the number of copies you purchase. The TNRC charges for use of this simulation on a per-participant basis. Therefore, you must purchase a separate copy of this simulation for each person who will be participating, regardless of the number of roles in the simulation. You will only receive a link to one electronic file, which includes all general instructions, confidential instructions, and any teaching notes for the simulation. You should separate out the instructions before distributing to participants.

If you select the hard copy option, you will receive paper copies of this role simulation via the shipping method you select.

For additional information about the soft copy option, please visit our FAQ section, or contact the PON Teaching Negotiation Resource Center at or 800-258-4406 (within the U.S.) or 301-528-2676 (outside the U.S.).

Please note: At the present time, Teaching Negotiation Resource Center soft copies are compatible with the following versions of the Adobe Acrobat Reader: English, German, French, Spanish, Swedish, Portuguese, Japanese, and Korean. If you have a different version of the Acrobat Reader, you may wish to download one of these at, or contact the PON Teaching Negotiation Resource Center at, 800-258-4406 (within the U.S.), or 301-528-2676 (outside the U.S.) for further assistance. This restriction does not apply to the freely available Teacher’s Package Review Copies.

Ordering a single copy for review

If you wish to review the materials for a particular role simulation to decide whether you’d like to use it, a PDF, or soft copy, version of the Teacher’s Package for the simulation is available as a free download from the description page of most role simulations and case studies. All Teacher’s Packages include copies of all participant materials. In addition, some Teacher’s Packages (but not all) include additional teaching materials such as teaching notes or overhead masters.

Ordering copies for multiple participants

To order multiple copies of a role simulation for use in a course or workshop, simply enter the total number of participants in the box next to “Quantity.” There is no need to calculate how many of each role is required.

If you are ordering hard copies, the Teaching Negotiation Resource Center will calculate the appropriate numbers of each role to provide, based on the total number of participants. For example, if you wish to order a 2-party role simulation for use with a class of 30 students, you would enter “30” in the box next to “Quantity.” You then would receive 15 copies of one role and 15 copies of the other role, for use with your 30 participants. As another example, if you ordered 30 participant copies of a 6-party role simulation, you would receive 5 copies of each role.

In the event that the number of participant copies you order is not evenly divisible by the number of roles in the simulation, you will receive extra copies of one or more roles. Participants receiving the extra roles may partner with other participants playing the same role, thus negotiating as a team. So, for instance, if you ordered 31 copies of a 2-party role simulation, you would receive 15 copies of the first role and 16 copies of the second role. One of the participants playing the second role would partner with another participant playing that same role, and the two would negotiate as a team.

Bulk Pricing Discount

For bulk orders, we offer the following pricing discounts. Please note that these only apply to bulk orders of the same simulation.

  • Between 100-250 copies – 10% discount
  • Between 251-500 copies – 25% discount
  • More than 500 copies – 50% discount
Log In or Register to download the free Teacher's Package Sample.


This is a six-party, seven-person (including the mediator), multi-issue mediation simulation game involving a dispute over developing an instream flow action plan. It introduces and explores the uses of a mutual gains approach to negotiation, mediation, and coalitions in a science-intensive dispute with high uncertainty. This game can be played with either 13 (2 per negotiating role + 1 mediator) or 7 (1 per negotiating role + 1 mediator) players.


A river management action team has been assembled to develop a scientifically sound instream flow action plan for the Long River. The team is made up of the governor’s special assistant and representatives from the State Department of Fish and Game, a nearby Tribe, the Regional Water Supplier, an irrigators' group, and a coalition of environmental and recreational interests. Unless at least five of the stakeholders on this team can agree on an instream flow action plan, it is very likely that federal regulators and the courts will have to step in and impose restrictions of various kinds. A neutral mediator is assisting the negotiating team.

The parties must deal with several issues: (1) Instream flow goals: what kinds of values and uses should the parties try to protect and enhance? (2) Strategies for increasing instream flow: how will the parties try to meet their instream flow goals? (3) Future development: how should land use planning for future development be integrated into water resource management? (4) Enforcement: how will the parties implement and monitor their agreement?


Participant Materials include:

  • General Instructions for all participants


Confidential instructions for:

  • Governor's Special Assistant
  • State Department of Fish & Game Representative
  • Tribe's Representative
  • Regional Water Supplier Representative
  • Irrigator's Group Representative
  • Environment-Recreation Coalition Representative
  • Mediator


Teacher's Package includes:

  • All of the above
  • Teaching Note



  • Pay attention to process.
  • Commit to use neutral services. It is easier to hold parties to their agreements if the group as a whole has engaged the services of a neutral mediator/ facilitator and adopted explicit ground rules.
  • Consensus building can only work when stakeholders self-identify and "own" the design of the collaborative process. Expand the number of parties involved and find ways to include "unofficials."
  • Share information about interests.
  • Look at packages of options.
  • Understand that any agreement will only be useful for a limited period and you will only get things partially right. It is almost always better to pursue an adaptive management approach in seeking to resolve water disputes or set water management policy, than to try and lay out a long-term comprehensive solution.
  • Ask parties to sign the written agreement they have helped to craft.
  • To ensure its implementation, don't neglect to link an informally negotiated agreement to whatever formal actions are needed by those in positions of authority.
  • Commit to capacity building (and organizational development) over time.

Long River Attributes

Time required: 3-5 hours
Number of participants: 7
Teams involved: No
Agent present: Non-lawyer
Neutral third party present: Mediator
Scoreable: No
Teaching notes available: Yes