How to design a valid and transparent process for high level assessments of water needs; that can be applied at several scales, provides interactive knowledge management and supports collective learning processes?
What did the project do?
The project developed a decision support methodology and tool for assessing the water needs of different locations. The decision support tool is to inform investments in future water supply in the Asia Pacific region.
What did the project produce?
A methodology for assessing the multiple dimensions of water needs in countries and regions; as well as incorporating a range of information types
A prototype software tool for applying and visualizing the Water Needs Index; and instructions for how to make this a full-scale knowledge sharing and assessment tool
Three case studies using the methodology:
For 29 countries in the Asia-Pacific region
For the Mekong River Basin
For the islands of Kiribati
How can the project make a difference to development?
In the full-scale web-based application, once the decision support tool has reached its full potential:
It identifies the needs and symptoms relating to inadequate water and sanitation and will identify hotspots requiring attention. In this way:
It supports discussion around water and sanitation needs in different locations; in particular it can serve as a bridge between different responsible departments
In future versions, assuming adequate information, it has the potential to identify suitable intervention strategies for different local contexts and circumstances.
And very tentatively and approximately: If such intervention strategies are costed and their impacts estimated, this could allow for prioritisation of interventions.
By providing a structure for information, and identifying knowledge gaps, it supports knowledge management; linking donor agencies, experts and local water managers and allowing them to share data; and as such:
Will help local water managers to access and utilize data that is available in the system
Will help staff members at AusAID to quickly learn about water needs and issues in different locations which is critical in an organisation with rapid staff turnover
Can inform further information collection, allowing AusAID to initiate surveys and / or collaborative arrangements to source data etc
It will provide a framework, through Bayesian Networks (note: this is not available in the first prototype), to assess reliability and validity of information; as well as incorporating a mix of qualitative and quantitative information.
Project completion date - April 2009
DOWNLOAD full project report [2.6Mb] Regional and Country Scale Water Resource Assessment; Informing Investments in Future Water Supply in the Asia Pacific Region – a Decision Support Tool
DOWNLOAD final outcomes report for this project September 2009
Report - Tigum-Aganan Watershed Management Project, Part 1: Exploring vulnerability to climate change
Report - Water Needs Assessment: learning to deal with scale, subjectivity and high stakes June 2010