Development and Application of the River Values Assessment System for Ranking New Zealand River Values
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In New Zealand and elsewhere no system has existed for objectively ranking the relative importance of different use (e.g., irrigation and hydro electric power) and non-use (e.g., whitewater kayaking, recreational angling, native birdlife) river values. Development of such a system would provide an opportunity for improved policies and rules around water and river use, development and conservation opportunities, and for understanding tradeoffs when competing and overlapping demands are placed on the same resource. In this paper the River Values Assessment System (RiVAS), a Multi Criteria Analysis based approach, is described and demonstrated by application to the salmonid angling value (and in a more limited way to swimming) in Tasman District rivers of the South Island, New Zealand. The system has 10 steps, and a decision support system which finally helps decide the national, regional or local (or high, medium or low) importance or significance of rivers for particular values. As with any MCA approach there is a wide range of limitations all of which are addressed, and none of which are ultimately fatally detrimental to the system.
KeywordsMulti criteria analysis River values Relative importance rankings New Zealand
This work was funded by the Foundation for Research, Science and Technology as part of the project ‘Developing a significance classification framework for water body uses and values’—funding was by means of several grants and I thank the Foundation for support via:
1. Small Advice: 532-TSDC40
2. Medium Advice: 612-TSDC41– Developing a significance classification framework for water body uses and values: Project scoping workshop; 894-TSDC69—Significance assessment of river uses and values in Tasman; 898-TSDC70—Significance assessment of hydro-electric power generation values of NZ rivers
3. Tools: LINX0810—Uses and values of water bodies.
Many council staff assisted with all of the trial applications and to them I extend a sincere thanks. Likewise I thank the members of non government organisations who helped improve the method and specific applications to specific values.
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