Sustainable Management of Water Resources

Sustainable Management of Water Resources

An Integrated Approach

The Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei series on Economics, the Environment and Sustainable Development

Edited by Carlo Giupponi, Anthony J. Jakeman, Derek Karssenberg and Matt P. Hare

Experts across a wide range of specialist fields including social sciences, informatics, ecology and hydrology are brought together in this truly multidisciplinary approach to water management. They provide the reader with integrated insights into water resource management practices that underpin the three pillars of sustainable development – environment, economics and society – through a series of international case studies and theoretical frameworks.

Chapter 6: Software Support for Multi-Criteria Decision Making

Marjan van Herwijnen and Ron Janssen

Subjects: economics and finance, environmental economics, environment, environmental economics, management natural resources, water


Marjan van Herwijnen and Ron Janssen 6.1 INTRODUCTION Few decisions have a single objective. The very idea of making decisions suggests the need for considering multiple aspects and achieving a successful blend of performances. Management of water resources is no exception to this general rule. Multiple stakeholders participate in management of water resources. This results in multiple objectives to be considered by any decision maker involved in water management. Examples are: • • • Selection of a management strategy for a freshwater lake. Objectives are water quality, water quantity, biodiversity, recreational quality, residential quality, cost, etc.; Selection of a flood management strategy. Objectives are risk of flooding, biodiversity, visual quality, land use and cost; Selecting a strategy for river basin management. Objectives are water quality, flood risks and navigation, but also visual quality of the landscape and biodiversity. Because water is in many cases a public good, the decision maker is often a public body. This public body must take into account the interest of a multitude of stakeholders and has to be able to justify its decisions. The decision maker evaluates a set of alternatives, which represent the possible choices. The objectives to be achieved drive the design (or screening) of these alternatives and determine their overall evaluation. Attributes are the measurement rods for the objectives and specify the degree to which each alternative matches the objectives. Factual information and value judgements jointly establish the overall merits of each option and highlight the best solution. The problems described above involve a set...

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