Integrated assessment of water management strategies: framework and case study

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Moglia, Magnus; Nguyen, Minh; Neumann, Luis; Cook, Stephen; Nguyen, Trung


Conference Material

MODSIM2013, 20th International Congress on Modelling and Simulation, Adelaide, Australia, 1-6 December 2013


Piantadosi, J, Anderssen, RS and Boland J

At a time when cities now accommodate more than half of the world’s population, many urban centres still struggle with providing safe water supplies and maintaining aquatic ecosystem health. Can Tho City, at the heart of the Mekong Delta, is grappling with achieving sustainable urban development while balancing rapid population growth and industrialization, changes to the hydrology of the Mekong, and challenges related to climate change. A study, as part of the CSIRO-AusAID Research for Development Alliance, has explored water management strategies that would support sustainable urban development in Can Tho City. The study used an iterative process involving stakeholder engagement workshops, data collection and householder survey. These activities helped identify the water related needs of the city, using a Water Needs Index, and the strategies that may address such needs. Subsequently, such strategies were evaluated by means of Bayesian Networks for their viability in the local context, as well as their system wide effectiveness against the six dimensions of the Water Needs Index. The interaction and integration of these three activities provided an integrated assessment methodology for Can Tho. This methodology gained considerable traction in the local context, with funding agencies and local government either adopting, or wanting to adopt the results of the study. This paper describes how a range of activities can be integrated to feed into the planning and implementation of urban water management strategies; described in the context of Can Tho City. The applied framework has five steps designed to move from an exploration of the local context, towards the identification and preparation for implementing management strategies: 1. Developing an understanding of the local context, and to generate a knowledge base to build on in the subsequent steps. 2. Identifying the city’s needs, in terms of water management, or related issues. These are defined in terms of six dimensions in a Water Needs Index. 3. Identifying and short-listing a number of strategies to be further developed and planned. 4. Assessing the short-listed strategies for their likelihood of achieving desired goals, and their performance, against the Water Needs Index dimensions. The assessment is conducted using a participatory modeling approach involving Bayesian Networks. 5. Demonstrating and piloting of strategies, as well as the further planning for implementation. During this process, stakeholder engagement is an important aspect, in order to ensure that there is local ownership, and understanding of the outcomes and results. As part of this process, we identify the responsibilities and tasks that are necessary in order to ensure the success of strategies. The process also tends to identify important institutional factors and barriers in relation to identified strategies. The approach primarily builds on the lead author’s studies in the Pacific Islands, and on the research team’s experiences with applying the Integrated Urban Water Management approach. This is the first large scale application of the framework, and it has been shown to be a surprisingly effective way of engaging local stakeholders around the problem of water management who are now highly motivated to move towards action and adoption of further project outcomes. It is the authors’ belief that the approach can be successfully applied in different contexts and most likely also to other sectors; although this may require some amount of process adjustment.

Modelling and Simulation Society of Australia and New Zealand

Integrated assessment; Integrated Urban Water Management; Bayesian Networks; Water Needs Index

Environmental Management; Decision Support and Group Support Systems ; Urban Policy

Link to Publisher's Version

Copyright © 2013 The Modelling and Simulation Society of Australia and New Zealand Inc. All rights reserved.


Conference Paper - Refereed



Moglia, Magnus; Nguyen, Minh; Neumann, Luis; Cook, Stephen; Nguyen, Trung. Integrated assessment of water management strategies: framework and case study. In: Piantadosi, J, Anderssen, RS and Boland J, editor/s. MODSIM2013, 20th International Congress on Modelling and Simulation; 1-6 December 2013; Adelaide, Australia. Modelling and Simulation Society of Australia and New Zealand; 2013. 2262–2268.

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