Decision Analysis Applications for the Sustainability of Global Urban Water Resources and Drainage Systems

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ABSTRACT
Water is one of the most vital elements needed for life. In many countries water supplies, especially for critical drinking water, are either being depleted or polluted. Too often these problems are magnified due to the lack of reliable drainage systems that provide proper stormwater and sanitary sewage collection and treatment of human generated wastewater. These problems cause health concerns and impact the quality of life. Solutions in one country are not necessarily transferable to another, as every community is unique; each community has special needs for water and drainage systems. Too often in the past, countries have tried to implement systems that are not suitable to their local needs and concerns. Consequently, there is a global need to create a systematic decision analysis tool to provide strategies for finding sustainable water resources and drainage systems solutions. A new sustainable decision analysis  system is developed to address these problems and concerns. This paper serves as an introduction for future more fully developed examinations of various urban water use and drainage issues worldwide, such as water supplies polluted with arsenic, and water reuse in arid regions.

INTRODUCTION
Water is one of the most vital elements needed for life, and almost every civilization across the globe is facing serious problems with its water resources and drainage systems (UN-Water, 2005). In many countries water supplies, especially for critical drinking water, are either being depleted or polluted (UN-Water, 2005). Too often these problems are compounded by to the lack of reliable drainage systems that provide proper stormwater and sanitary sewage collection and treatment of human generated wastewater (UN-Water, 2005). Collectively, these problems
cause health concerns and impact the quality of life. Therefore, The United Nations has launched the ‘Water for Life’ decade during 2005 – 2015 to stress the importance of this resource worldwide.

Since the dawn of civilization, tribes and then followed by formal governments, have been attempting to solve urban water resources problems (UN-Water, 2005). Solutions are complex, the task of solving the problems has multiple stages, resources to construct the physical infrastructure are expensive, lessons learned in one project are not uniformly disseminated and too often a solution to a problem in one area causes unintended consequences for someone else.

Solutions in one country are not necessarily transferable to another, as every community is unique; each community has special needs for water and drainage systems. Too often in the past, countries have tried to implement systems that are not suitable to their local needs and concerns (UN-Water, 2005). Vital details that should have been included in the solution may not be considered and, unfortunately, can then result in transforming the original problem with compounding effects on local communities.

Consequently, there is a global need to create a systematic decision analysis tool to provide strategies for finding sustainable water resources and drainage systems solutions. One such tool originating in the nineteen sixties is the Logical Framework Approach (LFA). The United Sates Agency for International Development (USAID) in 1969 developed the LFA (Finlayson, 2004). The LFA is often mandated by international project donors such as the Asian Development Bank and the European Union; the LFA is an analytical tool (characterized by the LF Matrix depicted in Figure 1) that helps planners and managers to:

  • “Analyze the existing situation during project preparation,
  • Establish a logical hierarchy of means by which objectives will be reached,
  • Identify potential project risks,
  • Establish how outputs and outcomes can be monitored and evaluated, and
  • Present project summary.” (Wageningen International, 2006)

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