Selection of the Best Inland Waterway Structure: A Multicriteria Decision Analysis Approach

Abstract

This study explains the role and effectiveness of Multicriteria Decision Analysis (MCDA) approaches for decision support to rank the best option(s) to reconstruct and rehabilitate the inland waterway structure by demonstrating a case study of River Ilmenau in Germany. Considering the involvement of several stakeholders and community with the status and functionality of the Ilmenau river, this paper also considers the importance of stakeholder participation in the decision making process by an intensive stakeholder interview. A total of 27 criteria were selected that represent a wide range of environmental and socio-economic aspects of the Ilmenau River and the activities related to this river. The ranking of the alternatives were performed by combining AHP (Analytical Hierarchy Process) with PROMETHEE (Preference Ranking Organisation METHod for Enrichment Evaluations) to achieve a rigorous solution of the objective. 23 stakeholders such as decision-makers, experts, and researchers from environmental, administrative, recreational, and socio-economical fields were interviewed to determine the criteria to be weighed. The stakeholders’ opinions showed ecological continuity is one of the most important criteria to be considered. They also gave significant importance to nature protection laws and directives. Among the socio-economic criteria, flood protection was the most important one. Removal of weirs and installation of ground ramps was suggested to be the best option to consider for further investigation and implementation. This study clearly demonstrates the importance of stakeholder and community participation to decision-making process and contributes new information, especially stakeholders’ attitude towards decision making for water resources infrastructure selection.

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Acknowledgments

The authors gratefully acknowledge the contribution of Wasser- und Schifffahrtsamt (WSA) Lauenburg, Germany for funding the study. Special thanks to Ms. Couzens for her enthusiastic cooperation during the study (August 2012- November 2012).

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Correspondence to Mohammad Azizur Rahman.

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Rahman, M.A., Jaumann, L., Lerche, N. et al. Selection of the Best Inland Waterway Structure: A Multicriteria Decision Analysis Approach. Water Resour Manage 29, 2733–2749 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11269-015-0967-1

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Keywords

  • Multicriteria analysis
  • Decision support
  • Waterway structure
  • Ilmenau River
  • Germany