INTEGRATED MATHEMATICAL MODELLING AS A BASIS FOR DECISION MAKING IN WATER MANAGEMENT
Water resources development and management is a complex problem. It includes the design and operation of single system components, often as part of larger interrelated systems and usually on the basis of river basins. While several decades ago the dominant objective was the maximization of economic benefit, other objectives have evolved as part of the sustainable development envisaged. Today, planning and operation of larger water resources systems is practically impossible without adequate computer tools, normally being one or several models, increasingly combined with data bank management systems and multi criteria assessment procedures in decision support systems. The use of models in civil engineering already has a long history when structural engineering is considered. These design support models, however, must rather be seen as expert systems made to support the engineer with his daily work. They often have no direct link to stakeholders and the decision makers community. The scale of investigation is often much larger in water resources engineering than in structural engineering which is related to different stakeholders and decision making procedures. Still, several similarities are obvious which can be summarized as the search for a compromise solution on a complex, i.e. multiobjective and interdisciplinary decision problem. While in structural engineering e.g. aestetics, stability and energy consumption might be important evaluation criteria in addition to construction and maintenance cost other or additional criteria have to be considered in water resources planning such as political, environmental and social criteria. In this respect civil engineers tend to overemphasize technical criteria. For the future the existing expert systems should be embedded into an improved decision support shell, keeping in mind that decision makers are hardly interested in numerical modelling results. The paper will introduce into the problem and demonstrate the state of the art by means of an example.