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

Abstract

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.

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Correspondence to Anna T. Straton.

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Straton, A.T., Jackson, S., Marinoni, O. et al. 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. Water Resour Manage 25, 141–164 (2011). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11269-010-9691-z

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Keywords

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