Spatial decision support for urban water management

C. Makropoulos, Spatial decision support for urban water management, 321 pages, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering – Imperial College, London, London, 2003.



The research describes the development of a Spatial Decision Support System for Urban Water Management and its application in the particular domain of Water Demand Management. The primary hypothesis stated and discussed is that the development of decision support systems with a distinct spatial character (i.e. spatial decision support systems (SDSS)) based on soft computing can assist the decision maker within the urban environment and result in more informed decisions. The thesis investigates the use, within an integrated decisional platform, of different tools (including mathematical modelling, geographic information systems, decision support techniques, spatial analysis, fuzzy inference systems and evolutionary programming). It develops new soft computing techniques, adapts techniques that are available in other domains and combines them in an innovative way to facilitate urban water planning and management. The prototype Spatial Decision Support System developed is tested under a variety of different user inputs and assumptions and is used to discuss alternative water demand management strategies. It is concluded that the prototype developed is a flexible tool that can be adapted to the characteristics of the problem at hand while its transparent nature greatly enhances the inclusion and handling of uncertainty and risk throughout the decision making process. Although the work presented here is open to further development, improvement and testing, it is felt that it is a promising research direction and could be of great potential benefit to the decision making process within the water industry.