Scenario-based strategy development for Integrated Water Management
This paper presents a step-by-step methodological approach for the development and evaluation of strategies for water deficient regions. The primary focus of the approach followed was the mitigation of water stress, while applying the principles of Integrated Water Resources Management and the EU Water Framework Directive.
The participation of Stakeholders and end-users through consultations was a key point in the methodology followed. Stakeholders and actors were approached and their opinions on Water Management were collected and integrated into a list of measures and instruments suited and available for implementation, forming the basic assumptions governing the strategy formulation process for a region. Comprehensive scenarios were developed and examined for each of the selected options, through a prototype Decision Support System (WSM DSS), in order to obtain an initial ranking with regard to their suitability and performance. Then, the strategy formulation involved the integration of options on a regional basis in a set timeframe, based on their previous estimated performance and technical considerations with regard to their implementation.
To achieve the set-out goals and principles two distinct strategies were evaluated and compared, one reflecting the traditional and current practices and policies, and one closely following the principles of Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM). The developed Strategies were evaluated against each other and against the reference state of the water system, using a set of appropriate indicators for performance, cost, environmental and social impacts. Alternative pricing schemes were also explored in order to achieve a desired level of cost recovery for water services, and determine its effect on Strategy implementation. The developed strategies were re-examined and adjusted on the basis of the cost recovery structures, to account for the effects of price elasticities, and an overall evaluation was obtained enabling a final comparison.
The methodology is illustrated through an exemplary application for the island of Paros, Greece. On the basis of the perceptions of different stakeholders, alternative water management strategies were developed and evaluated, and recommendations were made towards the mitigation of impacts caused by the high temporal water imbalance in the island.