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Areas of use for generic Decision Support Systems for Integrated Water Resources Management

Congress: 2008
Author(s): Evers Mariele
Associate Professor Mariele Evers, Leuphana University of Lüneburg, Institute of Environmental Strategies, Herbert-Meyer-Str. 7, 29556 Suderburg, evers@uni-lueneburg; phone: +49 4131 6779235

Keyword(s): generic DSS, IWRM, management , comprehensive approach, participation
AbstractIntroduction: Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) refers to the coordinated develop-ment and management of water, land and related resources for optimising economic and social welfare without compromising the sustainability of vital environmental systems. It is obvious that this is a complex issue where we need new approaches to the assessment, development management, and par- ticipation. Objective: To assist processes in IWRM computer based tools as Decision Support Systems (DSS) can be very helpful. A DSS might be defined as a computer based instrument that can be used to support the planning, management and/ participation processes. In a DSS a structured approach towards river basin management is combined with eminent Information Technology, leading to an instrument that facilitates the processing, the analysis and the presentation of information. A DSS helps the end-user to assess which is the relevant information in the planning process and shows possible alternatives to meet development objectives. There is a wide range of different DSS with diverse goals and function-alities. However, many of them are not in practical use. A generic DSS can be used for many problems and generally also in different river basins. Generic DSS provide specialized problem-solving exper-tise stored as facts, rules, procedures, or similar to structures in different river basins. So what kind of DSS with which functionalities is appropriate and necessary for IWRM? There are a series of requirements for a comprehensive approach which could be assisted by an appropriate DSS. Methods: Beside literature research, a variety of requirement elicitation techniques such as interviews, buzz groups, questionnaire and a DSS prototype evaluation were employed. Feedback from roughly 200 experts representing different work fields and river basins in Central and Western Europe was col-lected. Different legal frameworks of IWRM fields were analysed with a view to determining whether they can be applied in a comprehensive approach. Results: Broad elicitations affirm that generic DSS can assist in various phases of planning and man-agement processes. Some general requirements of DSS for IWRM can be identified which should be considered in DSS development. DSS can be described as socio-technical instruments and “communi-cation vehicles” because of their multiple roles in participation processes. Conclusion: However, integration remains a difficult issue. A number of gaps and barriers still need to be resolved. The presentation will show how this and other requirements and functionalities might be realised in a DSS for IWRM. Possibilities and restrictions for the use of a generic DSS for a compre-hensive approach will be described along an adapted framework of the Institute of Electrical and Elec- tronics Engineers (IEEE) for requirement specifications in software development.
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