A Decision Framework for Integrated Wetland-River Basin Management in a Tropical and Data Scarce Environment

A Decision Framework for Integrated Wetland-River Basin Management in a Tropical and Data Scarce Environment: UNESCO-IHE PhD Thesis

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Features

  • The methodology evaluates a wetland in the context of a river basin with management purposes.
  • Data scarcity, an endemic problem in developing countries, is addressed in some stages of this study, through conventional and state-of-the-art techniques and data sources.
  • The modeling framework (rainfall-runoff, hydrodynamic and water allocation) is applied to an environment with data scarce conditions
  • A qualitative approach complements the modeling framework via expert elicitation and stakeholder feedback (Governance, NGOs and local dwellers).

Summary

Traditionally, wetlands were considered separately from river basin systems. However, nowadays it is becoming common practice to follow an integrated approach in wetland-riverine watershed analysis and management. Such approach requires not only adequate representations of all relevant bio-physical parameters, but also of socio-political and economic indicators.  Data scarcity, an endemic problem in developing countries, hampers this global process. In this study, both conventional methods and state-of-the-art techniques and data sources are explored.

A modelling framework is developed which includes rainfall-runoff processes, river hydrodynamics and water allocation models, seeking a balance between sophistication and simplicity, in view of data availability conditions.  The framework was used to evaluate a number of scenarios, including potential effects of climatic variations and of the major hydraulic works that are planned by the national water authority. Several management options were assessed through this tool.

In addition, special indicators were developed to remedy the lack of sufficient quantitative information by using a qualitative approach based on expert elicitation and stakeholder involvement. A decision support framework was applied to achieve a final ranking of the various management solutions that are in compliance with the national policies, facilitating the further development of management guidelines for wetlands across the Ecuadorian lowlands.

The book will be of interest to water managers, hydro-informaticians/water modellers, people working at river basin authorities and Ministries of the environment.

Table of Contents

Summary
I Introduction
II The Abras de Mantequilla case study
III A simple pattern simulation in streamflow daily series
IV Ecohydraulics modelling of the AdM wetland-river system
V Stakeholder appreciation of management solutions
VI Decision Support Framework for the AdM wetland-river system
VII Conclusions and recommendations
VIII References
Appendices

Author Bio(s)

Mijail Arias-Hidalgo was born (1979) in Guayaquil, Ecuador. In 2002 he graduated in Civil Engineering from the ESPOL Polytechnic University at Guayaquil. Since 1999 he has been working in consultancy firms in several areas such as foundation and pavement engineering, road drainage and road geometric design projects. In 2005, he joined a hydropower project in the Ecuadorian highlands as an inspector engineer.
From October 2006 to April 2008 he pursued a MSc. in Water Science & Engineering, specialization Hydroinformatics at UNESCO-IHE. This post-graduate stage was fulfilled with a scholarship granted by the Netherlands Fellowship Program (NFP) finalizing with Cum Laude. His thesis analyzed the quality improvement of remotely sensed imagery. This was done through the development of source codes in MATLAB to read and filter the information and the appropriate selection of interpolation techniques to estimate missing data. The resulted imagery supplied an existent algae bloom model in order to compare the new results with the model using only in-situ data. The research was carried at Deltares Institute (former Delft Hydraulics).

Following his MSc. he undertook further research based on improving his thesis’ outcomes for publication until November 2008. Since then, he became a PhD student, fully involved in the WETWin project, 7th Framework Program –FP (November 2008-October 2011). His main duties were enclosed in the work packages 3, 6, 7 and 8 dealing with data collection, organization, gap analysis, water systems modeling, expert elicitation and decision support system. He is member of the International Association of Hydraulic Research (IAHR) and the Ecuadorian Civil Engineering Association (CIEC).

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