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Water Policies and Conflict Resolution of Public Participation Decision-Making Processes Using Prioritized Ordered Weighted Averaging (OWA) Operators


There is a growing interest in environmental policies about how to implement public participation engagement in the context of water resources management. This paper presents a robust methodology, based on ordered weighted averaging (OWA) operators, to conflict resolution decision-making problems under uncertain environments due to both information and stakeholders’ preferences. The methodology allows integrating heterogeneous interests of the general public and stakeholders on account of their different degree of acceptance or preference and level of influence or power regarding the measures and policies to be adopted, and also of their level of involvement (i.e., information supply, consultation and active involvement). These considerations lead to different environmental and socio-economic outcomes, and levels of stakeholders’ satisfaction. The methodology establishes a prioritization relationship over the stakeholders. The individual stakeholders’ preferences are aggregated through their associated weights, which depend on the satisfaction of the higher priority decision maker. The methodology ranks the optimal management strategies to maximize the stakeholders’ satisfaction. It has been successfully applied to a real case study, providing greater fairness, transparency, social equity and consensus among actors. Furthermore, it provides support to environmental policies, such as the EU Water Framework Directive (WFD), improving integrated water management while covering a wide range of objectives, management alternatives and stakeholders.

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Correspondence to Carlos Llopis-Albert.

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Llopis-Albert, C., Merigó, J.M., Liao, H. et al. Water Policies and Conflict Resolution of Public Participation Decision-Making Processes Using Prioritized Ordered Weighted Averaging (OWA) Operators. Water Resour Manage 32, 497–510 (2018).

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  • OWA operators
  • Public participation
  • Stakeholders
  • Decision-making
  • Water resources management
  • Conflict resolution