Flexible Process Frameworks for the Evaluation of Relative Sustainability in Water Management Decisions

By Louise Hurley, Stephen Mounce, Richard Ashley, David Butler and Fayyaz Ali Memon.

Published by The Technology Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

The development of flexible process frameworks to aid in the evaluation of relative sustainability in water management decisions is described. A novel approach is taken that encourages cross-sectoral and community communication whilst allowing the input of ‘hard’ engineering and ‘soft’ socio-cultural perspectives. The aim of the frameworks is to support decision-making to enable participation and knowledge exchange between the range of actors and stakeholders involved in the creation of new housing developments. The extant knowledge flows and decision making processes of stakeholders have been examined in order to identify pragmatic means of incorporation of social, technical, environmental and economic perspectives within them. Metrics for sustainability evaluation have been developed in conjunction with over 30 researchers working on innovative water technologies, social science, planning and health. The frameworks comprise an accessible, stand-alone sustainability evaluation tool, a document library with recommended computer and actor based techniques and tools and a web-based ‘portal’ that accesses the output of the wider research consortium. The work will allow access for the end-user to transparent, relevant and pragmatic decision support tools and processes that aim to break down the barriers to implementation of more sustainable decision making in practice.

Keywords: Decision-making, Knowledge, Sustainability, Water, Society

The International Journal of Technology, Knowledge and Society, Volume 2, Issue 7, pp.57-68. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.974MB).

Dr Louise Hurley

Louise Hurley studied Applied Biology for her first degree and holds a PhD in the use of constructed wetlands to treat waste water. She is a Research Associate with the Pennine Water Group in the Department of Civil and Structural Engineering at the University of Sheffield in the UK. Louise is currently researching issues of water and sustainable development within the 'WaND' (Water cycle management in new developments) project, funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC). This involves the review and development of sustainability metrics for inclusion into a novel, flexible and holistic framework that empowers transparent and sustainable decision making in the water cycle management of new developments and is adaptable for use by multiple end-users. She is also developing a methodology for the assessment of the inclusion of sustainable development into pilot projects across five European countries that are trialling water interventions used to reduce the quantity of rain and stormwater entering sewers within the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) funded project ‘NORIS’ (No Rainwater in Sewers). Louise’s main interests are in the incorporation of environmental, economic, technical and socio-economic perspectives into practical decision making and in the interface between social and physical sciences.

Stephen Mounce

Post Doctoral Research Associate, Pennine Water Group, Department of Civil and Structural Engineering, University of Sheffield, Sheffield, South Yorkshire, UK

Stephen Mounce studied Mathematics for his first degree and holds an MSc and PhD in Computer Science in the application of Artificial Neural Networks to leakage detection for water distribution systems. He is a Research Associate with the Pennine Water Group in the Department of Civil and Structural Engineering at the University of Sheffield in the UK. Dr. Mounce has had ten years experience as a researcher on many projects. He has recently been working on the WaND project, amongst others. He is also applying an online AI system to leakage detection for a UK water company. His current research interests involve applying AI techniques (Neural and fuzzy systems) for water industry problems, ontologies and sustainability assessment.

Prof. Richard Ashley

Professor of urban water, Pennine Water Group, Department of Civil and Structural Engineering, University of Sheffield, Sheffield, South Yorkshire, UK

Richard Ashley is a Chartered Civil and Environmental Engineer and Co-Director of the EPSRC funded Platform Centre, the Pennine Water Group (30 staff and researchers), with current research turnover of more than 8M euro. He is Visiting Professor in Sanitary Engineering at the Technical University of Delft, Netherlands and research advisor to FORMAS (Swedish research funding agency). Professor Ashley has many years experience in all aspects of urban water systems, including modelling, monitoring, management, operation and use. His research is in three main areas: 1. Internationally in the forefront of advancing knowledge about sewer solids and associated processes, member and former Chairman of the Sewer Systems and Processes Research group of IWA/IAHR. Elected member of the Joint Committee on Urban Drainage. Main editor and contributor to ‘Sewer Solids – State of the art’. 2. More than 10 years researching sustainable water systems, being main author of an IWA publication on ‘Including sustainability in decision making for water assets – a guide’. Current relevant projects include: ‘Water cycle management for new developments (WaND), a UK Government project looking at all aspects of sustainable water management in a consortium – leading the decision support framework; two EU INTERREG IIIb projects: No Rainwater in Sewers (NORIS) and Urban Water Cycle Management (UWC). 3. Flooding and climate change research; completed a UK Government Foresight project on Flooding and Coastal defence – leading the urban aspects. Currently leading a UKCIP project on Adaptable Urban Drainage - Addressing Change In Intensity, Occurrence And Uncertainty Of Stormwater (AUDACIOUS), on adapting to climate change. Chairman of a water and flood review inquiry for Bradford Metropolitan District Council. Various other related technical projects for industry, municipal authorities and end-users and other stakeholders.

David Butler

Professor of water engineering, School of Engineering, Computer Science & Mathematics Centre for Water Systems, University of Exeter, Exeter, Devon, UK

David Butler is Professor of Water Engineering and Director of the Centre for Water Systems at the University of Exeter and formerly professor and head of the Urban Water Research Group at Imperial College London. He has a degree in civil & structural engineering from University College Cardiff, and a masters and doctorate in public health engineering from Imperial College. He is a chartered civil engineer and a chartered environmentalist, with some 25 years experience in the water industry. He specialises in sustainable urban water management, water conservation and recycling, integrated modelling of urban water systems, spatial water management, operational management of stormwater runoff and flooding, in-sewer processes and decision support tool development. David is currently Director of EPSRC Sustainable Urban Environment Programme Water Cycle Management for New Developments (WaND) consortium, Director of the WATERSAVE network, editor-in-chief of the Water & Environment Journal (CIWEM) and the Urban Water Journal and a government advisor on flooding, sustainability and environmental pollution.

Dr. Fayyaz Ali Memon

Lecturer in Engineering Informatics, School of Engineering, Computer Science & Mathematics Centre for Water Systems, University of Exeter, Exeter, Devon, UK

Dr Memon earned his PhD and MSc from Imperial College, London. He is a lecturer in Water Engineering at the University of Exeter. He is also the project manager of a multi-institutional and multi-disciplinary research project on Water cycle management for new developments and co-ordinator of the Watersave Network. Dr Memon has produced several journal publications and edited two books. His research interests include urban water cycle management with particular focus on water demand management, wastewater collection systems and life cycle analysis.

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