Multicriteria decision analysis in water resources management: the malnichara channel improvement
Multicriteria decision analysis tool is used in many water resources and environmental management projects. The Malnichara is one of the natural channels in Sylhet city (Bangladesh) responsible for storm runoff conveyance to the downstream Surma river. The channel is found to be encroached at many locations of the city and found to be very vulnerable. The authority has taken decision to improve natural channels by a traditional approach, e.g. constructing box culvert. In most cases, stakeholders’ participation is ignored in such type of decision making. Hence, efforts were made to evaluate three common alternatives viz. sodding natural channel, lined natural channel and box culvert for the channel improvement. The channel is hydrologically divided into two parts: the upper portion (Choukidekhi-Kanishail) and the lower portion (Kanishail-Topoban). Both parts were separately analyzed. Small groups of stakeholders were interviewed for the selection of criteria and for the assignment of weighed factor and scores. Experts’ opinions were also taken through consultation. Nine criteria from four categories such as technical, economic, environment and social aspects were selected. The relative performances of alternatives were evaluated using the weighed sum technique of multicriteria decision analysis. It was found that the sodding natural channel is the best alternative for both portions of the channel. However, the choice is very sensitive to the social criteria.