Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Multicriteria decision support system to delineate water resources planning and management regions
by Coelho Maran, Ana Carolina, Ph.D., Colorado State University, 2010, 231; 3451867
Abstract (Summary)

The lack of uniform and integrated water resources regions that support sustainable water management within river basins is a critical issue. Overlapping and redundant efforts in planning and management result from conflicting water resources regions, which hamper Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM). In addition, the process of delineating these regions has often been executed without sufficient scientific support or a commonly agreed upon approach, usually resulting from political and historical circumstances. In spite of this, it is possible to improve the results by using knowledge gained from prior experiences, employing modern techniques, improving decision support systems (DSS), and also by taking into account multiple stakeholders' interests. In order to harmonize multiple objectives, promote good governance practices and reflect the linkages between environmental, socioeconomic, political and historical aspects, it is imperative to define appropriate territorial limits for water resources planning and management regions.

Given the presented problem, this study introduces an approach to support the process of delineating water resources regions based upon recognition of more comprehensive aspects and incorporation of these aspects into a DSS. A harmonized division of water resources regions, agreed upon between stakeholders, is the first step to promoting IWRM, furthering cross-boundary cooperation and preventing conflicts. The proposed Water Resources Planning and Management Regions (WARPLAM) DSS is designed to be used by federal and state governments, international commissions and water councils. Although river basins are considered to be the most suitable boundaries to attain IWRM goals, the proposed DSS simulation model offers the option for decision makers to include socioeconomic, political and environmental aspects into the analysis. Its main goals are to promote a common approach relating to the reasoning used in this process and to reinforce the principles of IWRM. It is based upon the use of geographic information systems (GIS), knowledge-based systems (KBS) and multi-criteria decision analysis (MCDA) combined with cluster analysis, dynamic programming (DP) and fuzzy analysis. WARPLAM DSS is also a flexible solution to support the delineation of regions in multiple levels of subsidiarity and to be adaptable to regional characteristics.

The process of developing WARPLAM DSS can be summarized into the following three main phases: Phase (1) Evaluating the aspects related to the delineation of water resources planning and management regions through a comparative analysis in eleven different countries; Phase (2) Building the DSS through the definition of a suitable approach utilizing the aspects identified in Phase 1; and Phase (3) Demonstrating the capability of WARPLAM DSS through a case study in Brazil.

The results of the study illustrate the potential for exploring different options for defining water resources regions depending upon the water resources management objectives and priorities. It is demonstrated that additional aspects, beyond solely river basin limits are being adopted in several countries. In addition, the results show that WARPLAM DSS provides a multifaceted and comprehensive solution to the complex issue of delineating water resources regions. The proposed DSS can also support multiple interests and multiple users; capacity building and access to knowledge from prior experiences; human judgment, intuition, experience and preferences; and flexibility. The building and operating of the DSS into an integrated system between ArcGIS and Excel is an adequate solution to address the user-end focus. Moreover, the combination of GIS with Cluster Analysis and DP in an adequate approach to address the presented needs. Finally, it is expected that WARPLAM DSS will improve the chances of successful IWRM practices, help lessen the boundary effects and promote cross-boundary cooperation, as well as support future decision-making processes and facilitate multiple stakeholders' involvement.

Key Terms: water resources planning and management, institutional framework, IWRM, decision support systems, GIS, cluster analysis, dynamic programming.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Fontane, Darrell
Commitee:
School: Colorado State University
School Location: United States -- Colorado
Source: DAI-B 72/06, Dissertation Abstracts International
Source Type: DISSERTATION
Subjects: Civil engineering, Water Resource Management
Keywords: Decision support, Resource planning, Water management, Water resources
Publication Number: 3451867
ISBN: 978-1-124-57439-4
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