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Multi-criteria Decision Analysis: A Strategic Planning Tool for Water Loss Management


Water utilities particularly in the developing countries continue to operate with considerable inefficiencies in terms of water and revenue losses. With increasing water demand and scarcity, utilities require effective strategies for optimum use of available water resources. Diverse water loss reduction options exist. Deciding on which option to choose amidst conflicting multiple criteria and different interests of stakeholders is a challenging task. In this paper, an integrated multi-criteria decision-aiding framework for strategic planning of water loss management is presented. The PROMETHEE II method was applied within the framework in prioritizing water loss reduction options for Kampala city. A strategic plan that combines selective mains and service lines replacement and pressure management as priorities is the best compromise based on preferences of the decision makers and seven evaluation criteria characterized by financial-economic, environmental, public health, technical and social impacts. The results show that the most preferred options are those that enhance water supply reliability, public health and water conservation measures. This study demonstrates how decision theory coupled with operational research techniques could be applied in practice to solve complex water management and planning problems.