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

Mijail Eduardo Arias Hidalgo

January 15, 2013 by CRC Press
Reference - 188 Pages
ISBN 9781138000254 - CAT# K19047


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  • 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).


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.

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