IWA Publishing

Decision support system for the long-term city metabolism planning problem


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A decision support system (DSS) tool for the assessment of intervention strategies (Alternatives) in an urban water system (UWS) with an integral simulation model called ‘WaterMet2’ is presented. The DSS permits the user to identify one or more optimal Alternatives over a fixed long-term planning horizon using performance metrics mapped to the TRUST sustainability criteria. The DSS exposes lists of in-built intervention options and system performance metrics for the user to compose new Alternatives. The quantitative metrics are calculated by the WaterMet2 model, and further qualitative or user-defined metrics may be specified by the user or by external tools feeding into the DSS. A multi-criteria decision analysis approach is employed within the DSS to compare the defined Alternatives and to rank them with respect to a pre-specified weighting scheme for different Scenarios. Two rich, interactive graphical user interfaces, one desktop and one web-based, are employed to assist with guiding the end user through the stages of defining the problem, evaluating and ranking Alternatives. This mechanism provides a useful tool for decision makers to compare different strategies for the planning of UWS with respect to multiple Scenarios. The efficacy of the DSS is demonstrated on a northern European case study inspired by a real-life UWS for a mixture of quantitative and qualitative criteria. The results demonstrate how the DSS, integrated with an UWS modelling approach, can be used to assist planners in meeting their long-term, strategic-level sustainability objectives.

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