Water Resources Management

, Volume 25, Issue 1, pp 141–164 | Cite as

Exploring and Evaluating Scenarios for a River Catchment in Northern Australia Using Scenario Development, Multi-criteria Analysis and a Deliberative Process as a Tool for Water Planning

  • Anna T. Straton
  • Sue Jackson
  • Oswald Marinoni
  • Wendy Proctor
  • Emma Woodward


Water catchments worldwide are experiencing increasing pressure on the quantity and quality of ground and surface water resources. Water managers are increasingly consulting community and stakeholder groups to ensure their decisions reflect the values and preferences of water users. Growing tensions between different water users require the use of techniques that can enable stakeholders to learn about each others’ positions and deliberate about the costs and benefits of alternative water allocation scenarios. This paper describes the use of scenario development, a small group deliberative process (citizens’ jury) and multi-criteria analysis to assist in water planning for the Howard River catchment in the Northern Territory (NT) of Australia. Water planning processes in the NT are in their infancy. As such, this research provides information about stakeholder preferences where none was previously available and demonstrates the use of a new water planning tool. The research found that the process in this case was most useful in providing information to stakeholders, dispelling some unhelpful myths about water use in the catchment, and coalescing opinion about important criteria for assessing future options.


Northern Australia Water planning Deliberative multi-criteria evaluation Scenario development Citizens’ jury Multi-criteria analysis 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Alcamo J (2001) Scenarios as tools for international environmental assessments. Environmental Issues Report, 24. European Environmental Agency, CopenhagenGoogle Scholar
  2. Andersen IE, Jaeger B (1999) Scenario workshops and consensus conferences: towards more democratic decision-making. Sci Public Policy 26:331–340CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Antunes P, Kallis G, Videira N, Santos R (2009) Participation and evaluation for sustainable river basin governance. Ecol Econ 68:931–939CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Australian Bureau of Statistics (2001) Population projections northern territory 1999 to 2021. 3222.7. Australian Bureau of Statistics, CanberraGoogle Scholar
  5. Australian Bureau of Statistics (2007) Regional Statistics, Northern Territory. 1362.7. Australian Bureau of Statistics, CanberraGoogle Scholar
  6. Banville C, Landry M, Martel JM, Boulaire C (1998) A stakeholder approach to MCDA. Syst Res Behav Sci 15:15–32CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Beinat E, Nijkamp P (1998) Multicriteria analysis for land-use management. Kluwer, DordrechtGoogle Scholar
  8. Blackstock K, Richards C (2007) Evaluating stakeholder involvement in river basin planning: a Scottish case study. Water Policy 9:493–512CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Brugha R, Varvasovszky Z (2000) Stakeholder analysis: a review. Health Policy Plan 15:239–246CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Burgess J, Chilvers J (2006) Upping the ante: a conceptual framework for designing and evaluating participatory technology assessments. Sci Public Policy 33:713–728CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Button M, Mattson K (1999) Deliberative democracy in practice: challenges and prospects for civic deliberation. Polity 31:609–637CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Calizaya A, Meixner O, Bengtsson L, Berndtsson R (2010) Multi-criteria decision analysis (MCDA) for integrated water resources management (IWRM) in the Lake Poopo Basin, Bolivia. Water Resour Manage. doi: 10.1007/s11269-009-9551-x Google Scholar
  13. Coleman JS (1958) Relational analysis: the study of social organizations with survey methods. Human Organ 17:28–36Google Scholar
  14. Commission of the European Communities (2002) Guidance on public participation in relation to the water framework directive—active involvement, consultation and public access to information, common implementation strategy. Working Group 2.9, BrusselsGoogle Scholar
  15. Cook PG, Hatton TJ, Eamus D, Hutley L, Pidsley D (1998) Hydrological investigation at Howard East, N.T. Technical Report, 41/98. CSIRO Land and Water, AdelaideGoogle Scholar
  16. Council of Australian Governments (2004) Intergovernmental agreement on a national water initiative.Google Scholar
  17. Crosby N, Kelly JM, Schaefer P (1986) Citizen’s panels: a new approach to citizen participation. Public Administration Review March/AprilGoogle Scholar
  18. Dienel PC, Renn O (1995) Planning cells: a gate to ‘fractal’ mediation. In: Renn O, Webler T, Wiedemann P (eds) Fairness and competence in citizen participation. Kluwer, Dordrecht, pp 117–140Google Scholar
  19. Dunning DJ, Ross QE, Merkhofer MW (2000) Multiattribute utility analysis; best technology available; adverse environmental impact; Clean Water Act; Section 316(b). Environ Sci Policy 3:7–14CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Gamper CD, Turcanu C (2007) On the governmental use of multi-criteria analysis. Ecol Econ 62:298–307CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Goicoechea A, Hansen DK, Duckstein L (1982) Multiobjective decision analysis with engineering and business applications. Wiley, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  22. Grimble R (1998) Stakeholder methodologies in natural resource management. Natural Resources Institute, ChathamGoogle Scholar
  23. Guimaraes Pereira A, Blasques J, Corral Qintana S, Funtowicz SO (2003) TIDDD—Tools to inform debates, dialogues and deliberations: the GOUVERNe project at the JRC. European Commission, Ispra 92-894-9350-X. EUR Report 21189 ENGoogle Scholar
  24. Habermas J (1984) The theory of communicative action. Beacon, BostonGoogle Scholar
  25. Hajkowicz SA (2008) Supporting multi-stakeholder environmental decisions. J Environ Manag 88:607–614CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Hajkowicz SA, Collins K (2007) A review of multiple criteria analysis for water resource planning and management. Water Resour Manage 21:1553–1566CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Hamstead M, Baldwin C, O’Keefe V (2008) Water allocation planning in Australia—current practices and lessons learned. Waterlines Occasional Paper, No. 6. National Water Commission, CanberraGoogle Scholar
  28. Holmes T, Scoones I (2000) Participatory environmental policy process: experiences from North and South. WP 113, Institute for Development Studies, University of Sussex, Brighton, SussexGoogle Scholar
  29. Jackson S (2005) Indigenous values and water resource management: a case study from the Northern Territory. Australas J Environ Manag 12:136–146Google Scholar
  30. Jackson S, Altman J (2009) Indigenous rights and water policy: perspectives from tropical Northern Australia. AUIndigLawRw 13:27–48Google Scholar
  31. James RF, Blamey RK (2000) A citizen’s jury study of National Park Management. Citizen’s juries for environmental management report no. 3. Centre for Resource and Environmental Studies, Australian National University, CanberraGoogle Scholar
  32. Kallis G, Videira N et al (2006) Participatory methods for water resources planning. Environ Plann C: Gov Policy 24:215–234CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Karni E, Werczberger E (1995) The compromise programming criterion in MCDM: interpretation and sensitivity to the p parameter. Environ & Plann B 22:407–418CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Kenyon W, Hanley N, Nevin C (2001) Citizens’ juries: an aid to environmental valuation? Environ Plann C: Gov Policy 19:557–566CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Lafferty WM, Meadowcroft J (1996) Democracy and the environment: problems and prospects. Edward Elgar, AldershotGoogle Scholar
  36. Madlener R, Stagl S (2005) Sustainability-guided promotion of renewable electricity generation. Ecol Econ 53:147–167CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Marinoni O, Higgins A, Hajkowicz SA, Collins K (2009) The multiple criteria analysis tool (MCAT): a new software tool to support environmental investment decision making. Environ Model Softw 24:153–164CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Meppem T (2000) The discursive community: evolving institutional structures for planning sustainability. Ecol Econ 34:47–61CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Messner F, Zwirner O, Karkuschke M (2006) Participation in multi-criteria decision support for the resolution of a water allocation problem in the Spree River basin. Land Use Policy 23:63–75CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Munda G (2004) Social multi-criteria evaluation: methodological foundations and operational consequences. Eur J Oper Res 158:662–677CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Munda G (2006) Social multi-criteria evaluation for urban sustainability policies. Land Use Policy 23:86–94CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Northern Territory Government (2002) Litchfield Planning Concepts and Land Use Objectives. Department of Infrastructure, Planning and Environment, PalmerstonGoogle Scholar
  43. Northern Territory Government (2004) Modelling of the McMinns/Howard East Groundwater System. Northern Territory Department of Natural Resources, Environment and the Arts, DarwinGoogle Scholar
  44. O’Neill J (2001) Representing people, representing nature, representing the world. Environ Plann C: Gov Policy 19:483–500CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Ostrom E (1998) A behavioural approach to the rational choice theory of collective action. Am Polit Sci Rev 92:1–22CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Ostrom E, Walker J, Gardner RH (1992) Covenants with and without a sword: self governance is possible. Am Polit Sci Rev 86:404–417CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Padovan A (2003) The water quality of wetlands and streams in the Darwin Harbour catchment. In: ‘Proceedings of the Darwin Harbour public presentations’. DarwinGoogle Scholar
  48. Paneque Salgado P, Corral Qintana S, Guimaraes Pereira A, del Moral Ituarte L, Pedregal Mateos B (2009) Participative multi-criteria analysis for the evaluation of water governance alternatives: a case in the Costa del Sol (Malaga). Ecol Econ 68:990–1005CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Pearson LJ, Coggan A, Proctor W, Smith TF (2010) A sustainable decision support framework for urban water management. Water Resour Manage 24:363–376CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Peterson GD, Cumming GS, Carpenter SR (2003) Scenario planning: a tool for conservation in an uncertain world. Conserv Biol 17:358–366CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Power and Water Corporation (2006) The Darwin Water Story. Power and Water Corporation, DarwinGoogle Scholar
  52. Proctor W, Drechsler M (2006) Deliberative multicriteria evaluation. Environ Plann C: Gov Policy 24:169–190CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Rawls J (1971) A theory of justice. Oxford University Press, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  54. Renn O, Webler T, Wiedemann P (1995) Fairness and Competence in Citizen Participation. Kluwer, DordrechtGoogle Scholar
  55. Romero C, Rehman T (1987) Natural resource management and the use of multiple criteria decision making techniques: a review. Eur Rev Agric Econ 14:61–89CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Schult J, Welch M (2006) The water quality of fifteen lagoons in the Darwin Region. 13/2006D. Aquatic Health Unit, Environmental Protection Agency, Northern Territory Department of Natural Resources, Environment and the Arts, DarwinGoogle Scholar
  57. Sen A (1995) Rationality and social choice. Am Econ Rev 85:1–24Google Scholar
  58. Stagl S (2006) Multicriteria evaluation and public participation: the case of UK energy policy. Land Use Policy 23:53–62CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Straton AT, Heckbert S, Smajgl A, Ward J (2006) Institutions for water trading and policy-making in the tropical savannas: a case study of the Katherine-Daly River region. Tropical Savannas Cooperative Research Centre and CSIRO Social and Economic Integration, DarwinGoogle Scholar
  60. Straton AT, Jackson S, Marinoni O, Proctor W, Woodward E (2008) Evaluating scenarios for the Howard catchment: summary report for workshop participants and stakeholders. CSIRO Sustainable Ecosystems, DarwinGoogle Scholar
  61. Straton AT, Heckbert S, Ward JR, Smajgl A (2009) Effectiveness of a market-based instrument for the allocation of water in a tropical river environment. Water Resour 36:743–751CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Van Asselt MBA, Rijkens-Klomp N (2002) A look in the mirror: reflection on participation in integrated assessment from a methodological perspective. Glob Environ Change 12:167–184CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Vatn A, Bromley D (1995) Choices without prices without apologies. In: Bromley D (ed) The handbook of environmental economics. Blackwell, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  64. Videira N, Antunes P, Santos R (2009) Scoping river basin management issues with participatory modelling: the Baixo Guadiana experience. Ecol Econ 68:965–978CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Wilson MA, Howarth RB (2002) Discourse-based valuation of ecosystem services: establishing fair outcomes through group deliberation. Ecol Econ 41:431–443CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Wittmer H, Rauschmayer F, Klauer B (2006) How to select instruments for the resolution of environmental conflicts? Land Use Policy 23:1–9CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Wollenberg E, Edmunds D, Buck L (2000) Anticipating change: scenarios as a tool for adaptive forest management. Center for International Forestry Research, BogorGoogle Scholar
  68. Zeleny M (1973) Compromise programming. In: Cocharane JL, Zeleny M (eds) Multiple criteria decision making. University of Carolina Press, Columbia, pp 262–301Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Anna T. Straton
    • 1
  • Sue Jackson
    • 2
  • Oswald Marinoni
    • 3
  • Wendy Proctor
    • 4
  • Emma Woodward
    • 2
  1. 1.CSIRO Sustainable EcosystemsParkvilleAustralia
  2. 2.CSIRO Sustainable EcosystemsDarwinAustralia
  3. 3.CSIRO Sustainable EcosystemsSt. LuciaAustralia
  4. 4.CSIRO Sustainable EcosystemsCanberraAustralia

Personalised recommendations