Decision Support System for Integrated and Adaptive Water Governance

Living reference work entry
Part of the Ecohydrology book series (ECOH)


Water resource management has attracted increasing attention, as water has become increasingly regarded as one of the most critical resources in the world’s sustainable development, especially in arid areas such as Northwest China. This is the result of a lack of effective administration and management of water resources. In this study, a decision support system for integrated and adaptive governance of water resources (IAGWR-DSS) was designed and developed to support integrated water resource management in river basins. IAGWR-DSS is based on integration of a geographical information system platform (ArcGIS Engine 10.2), a database platform (Microsoft Access), and a plug-in development framework. Some economic models and land use models have been integrated into IAGWR-DSS, such as computable general equilibrium (CGE) models. Four parts are included in IAGWR-DSS: (1) a basic information subsystem including the fundamental geographic information, landform, soil type, land use, hydrology, meteorology, spatiotemporal relations of the social economy, and water attributes of the basin; (2) a scenario simulation environment for the CGE model; (3) a data management subsystem to update the water consumption data, land change data, and socioeconomic data in the database; and (4) a decision support subsystem to visualize and map the results of the simulation and generate a decision report for decision makers. This study focused on the second largest inland river basin in China – the Heihe River Basin, located in an arid area – as an example to illustrate the proposed decision support system prototype for integrated water resource management, coupling the socioeconomic system and the hydrological cycling process. The key tasks of the decision support system for integrated water resource management in the Heihe River Basin are to rationally allocate water resources between the upper, middle, and lower reaches (the spatial dimension) and also between the industrial, living, and ecological sectors (the structure dimension). The change in the regional water resources and arable land can be observed visually, intuitively, and rapidly. The developed DSS is very useful to deal with complex water resource management problems in river basins.


Decision support system Integrated water resource management Adaptive governance of water resources System Model Database River Basin 



This research was financially supported by a grant from the major research plan of the National Natural Science Foundation of China (grant number 91425303). Data support from the research projects of the National Natural Science Foundation of China (grant numbers 91325302 and 71225005) is also acknowledged.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Resources and Environment ScienceHubei UniversityWuhanPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.Hubei Key Laboratory of Regional Development and Environmental ResponseHubei UniversityWuhanPeople’s Republic of China
  3. 3.Institute of Geographical Sciences and Natural Resources ResearchChinese Academy of SciencesBeijingPeople’s Republic of China
  4. 4.Center for Chinese Agricultural PolicyChinese Academy of SciencesBeijingPeople’s Republic of China
  5. 5.School of Business AdministrationZhongnan University of Economics and LawWuhanPeople’s Republic of China

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