An Integrated Approach
Edited by Carlo Giupponi, Anthony J. Jakeman, Derek Karssenberg and Matt P. Hare
Chapter 5: Multi-Criteria Decision Making in Water Resources Management
Jacobo Feás Vàzquez and Paolo Rosato 5.1 INTRODUCTION Water management is one of the main issues for human development. Water can be considered the most important primary good, and is very closely related to social and economic development. Water is generally a limited resource that must be managed efficiently for its conservation and future uses, but must also be distributed with equity.1 Water is a natural resource that has always played a strategic role in both social and economic development although this role differs with reference to both space and time. It is extremely difficult to generalise the problems concerning water management, which are specific and depend on the physical, economic and social characteristics of the considered context. In other words, it is not easy to find a common model to manage water resources in Africa and the Far East or in the Venetian Plain. Furthermore, water is an economic enigma: a human right, a production factor and a luxury good. Therefore, many issues must be taken into account in water management. The most important is the multipurpose use of water. Water resources are used for multifunctional purposes and managed by different water institutions with different final objectives. In fact, together with the consolidated civil and production function of water, it plays a protection function for the environment and a recreational function for which demand is rapidly increasing. The different water uses and the many relationships with surface and groundwater systems are represented in Figure 5.1. In general,...
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