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Title: Assessing the validity of decision support systems : a case study from the sustainable management of the West Bank Aquifer
Author: Hatem-Moussallem, Manal J.
ISNI:       0000 0001 3546 0961
Awarding Body: Newcastle University
Current Institution: University of Newcastle upon Tyne
Date of Award: 2008
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Decision support systems (DSS) have been widely advocated as key tools for the integrated management of water resources, which emerged as a critical need for addressing the various technical, economic, social, environmental and politicoinstitutional challenges facing the management of water resources. This thesis aims at developing a framework for assessing the validity of DSS in application to water resources management, more particularly reviewing Multi-Criteria Analysis (MCA) and Cost-Benefit Analysis (CBA) as a basis for decision-making. This is critical at times of increasing demand for tools such as DSS, and therefore the increasing importance of overcoming a major DSS limitation, which is validity. The proposed framework consists of two complementary approaches: (1) assessing intra-model validity (MCA), an approach which consists of studying the level of confidence in the comprehensiveness of management options (MO) and basic indicators (BI), analysing uncertainty in the performance values and weights assigned to BI, undertaking a sensitivity analysis of MO ranking to BI performance values and weights, and, based on results, generating as well as evaluating strategy alternatives; (2) assessing DSS inter-model validity, an approach which consists of comparing models (MCA and CBA). The application of the framework to the Sustainable Management of the West Bank Aquifer (SUSMAQ) generates results very much consistent with literature findings: importance of sensitivity analysis as a practical alternative to uncertainty analysis, sensitivity of MO ranking to BI performance values more than to BI weights, importance of accounting for indirect benefits and for the choice of discount rate in CBA, complementarity if not equivalence of MCA and CBA, etc. Although the aim of the thesis is methodological, the application uses validity assessment results to test various strategies for the management of water resources in the West Bank, as an illustrative example only.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available