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Water Management And Land Use Planning Integration With Multi Criteria Analysis (mca) Modeling

Congress: 2015
Author(s): Homero Castanier (Quito, Ecuador)

Keyword(s): Sub-theme 10: Management of water resources,

By: Homero Castanier

Environmental Management Department - Water and Sanitation Company of the City of Quito --

Av. Mariana de Jesus entre Italia y Alemania. Quito, Ecuador

Phone: 593 2 2994500

Theme Area: Management of water resources



The pressures of population growth and climate change are urging attention to strategies to integrate land use and water in order to allow decision making considering a full range of social, environmental, technical, economic, and financial criteria.

Land use planning and water resources planning are processes widely applied, however they often lack of connection, which leads to deal with problems of water quality and supply.

Land and water resources are complex systems comprised of natural, social, economic, political, and physical subsystems that dynamically and continuously interact. The integrated consideration of these subsystems is the basis of sustainable development and water resources sustainability.

Water management and land use plans for any specific geographic location or region should identify the key variables or elements of the subsystems that have to be given main attention in order to reach an effective integration assuring these elements are not left out or be given minor attention. With the large number of elements that have to be considered, a large number of combinations of potential management actions is possible, being fundamental the application of a multi criteria decision making tool.

The aim of this work is the design of a Multi-Criteria Analysis (MCA) model that allows the integration of key interacting factors and elements for water management and land use planning, and to contribute to the assurance that they are given due consideration in the planning processes.


This study has a quantitative and qualitative approach, since a basic set of data is gathered, processed and analyzed for their specialized ranking and rating. The model is of general application and includes a wide series of criteria and subcriteria defined according to biophysical and socioeconomic characteristics that can be qualified and determined for each specific case those of greater relevance for their consideration and integration in land use plans and water resources management.

The alternatives of integration categories are the following (adapted from Center for Systems Integration. 2010):

- Water Supply Assessment: Determine adequate water availability.

- Water Supply Development: Expand storage and delivery capacity, increase water supply.

- Rate Structures: Rates and fees.

- Comprehensive Planning Efforts: Connected land use and water management plans.

- Growth Management and Densification: Urban growth and conservation.

- Regional Structures: Inter-institutional agreements and water councils.

- Resource Use Efficiency: Water efficiency and incentives.

- Education: Education to all levels.

The criteria that reflect the values associated with the consequences of each water and land use integration categories are:

- Required Baseline Information

- Existing or Required Planning

- Environment

- Economic Values

- Legal and Policy Framework

- Socioeconomic and Environmental Feasibility

Once the decision context had been established and the options of water and land use integration categories identified, as well as the objectives and criteria that reflect the value associated with the consequences of each option, the next steps of the MCA application are:

- Assign weights for each of the criteria to reflect their relative importance to the decision.

- Value (score) the expected performance of each option against the criteria.

- Combine the weights and scores for each of the options to derive an overall value.

- Examine the results.

- Conduct a sensitivity analysis of the results to changes in scores or weights.

In order to assign weights and scores to the variables of interest and their criteria and subcriteria categories for their ranking and rating, an interdisciplinary team participated on the application of the Model to the case of the Metropolitan District of Quito, Ecuador. The results are shown in Table 1.

Results and Discussion

In the MCA model applied in order to prioritize the strategic components of water and land use integration categories for the case of the Metropolitan District of Quito, the scores obtained by valuing the expected performance of each option against the criteria categories, represent the level of relevance of the integration components to creating integrated land use and water planning processes.

In Table 1 is presented a summary of the ranking or level of relevance of the land and water integration components according to the corresponding scores of the MCA application.

Table 1. Level of relevance of land and water integration components

Ranking / Land and Water Integration Categories / MCA Score

1st / Water Supply Assessment / 1580

2nd / Water Supply Development / 1547

3rd / Regional Structures / 1448

4th / Comprehensive Planning Efforts / 1410

5th / Growth Management and Densification / 1323

6th / Rate Structures / 1319

7th / Education / 1272

8th / Resource Use Efficiency / 1021

The results of the sensitivity analysis carried out demonstrate that the structure of the model is sensitive to minor variations of the input values. Modifying 2 out of 30 subcriteria weights and 6 out of 240 rating values resulted in significant variations of the levels of relevance for the integration components.


Since all the site specific water and land use integration categories must be considered when formulating land use plans, a MCA is an adequate tool in order to determine their specific level of relevance based on the values assigned to the objectives and criteria that reflect the consequences of each integration category.

In the case of the Metropolitan District of Quito, Ecuador, the integration categories that should be paid special attention and prioritized are Water Supply Assessment and Water Supply Development. The middle relevance categories are Regional Structures, Comprehensive Planning Efforts, Growth Management and Densification, and Rate Structures, and finally the two middle-low relevance integration categories are Resource Use Efficiency and Education.

The results allow the optimization of resources and investments and sets priorities related to water management when planning for land use.

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2011 IWRA - International Water Resources Association - - Admin