Water Resources Management

, Volume 22, Issue 5, pp 535-550

First online:

Decision-making in Water Management under Uncertainty

  • Yue-Ping XuAffiliated withInstitute of Water Resources, School of Architecture and Civil Engineering, Zhejiang University Email author 
  • , Yeou-Koung TungAffiliated withDepartment of Civil Engineering, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology

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Decision-making in water management requires the delivery of accurate scientific information. However, the task is challenging under the situation where a large amount of uncertainty exists in the available information (e.g., model outputs). This paper investigates the effect of uncertainty on the ranking of options in water management. Different methods for ranking the management options under uncertainty are reviewed and they account for only partial uncertainty information in model outputs. To consider the full uncertainty information, a new ranking procedure is proposed in this paper, which is capable of providing more information to decision makers and at the same time taking their opinions on uncertainty into consideration. The ranking is achieved by conducting pair-wise comparison of management options, on the basis of the risk defined by the probability of obtaining an unacceptable ranking and the mean difference in model outputs in pair-wise comparison. An application example is presented to illustrate the use of the proposed ranking approach. Furthermore, the sensitivity of management option ranking to different ranking methods and to model uncertainty is also investigated.


Ranking of management options Shipping and vegetation models Uncertainty analysis Sensitivity analysis Decision-making under uncertainty