Decision Support for Water Management
While 70% of the Earth's surface is covered by water, only a small fraction of this water is suitable for human consumption. Growth in the global population and misuse of water resources result in many people not having a safe water supply. This has repercussions on both public health and finance. Alternative sources of water must be identified and evaluated. Desalinisation of seawater and brackish water is likely the most economic substitute, particularly for coastal regions. Successful integration of an alternative water source requires a holistic approach to water management as well as decision support tools. European-funded research has led to the development of an innovative Decision Aid Tool (DAT). Input to the DAT includes; local water demand, local freshwater resources, local seawater or brackish water resources and water treatment parameters. An optimisation procedure within the DAT generates optimal scenarios on the basis of both cost and water quality. Cost estimation addresses the long-term scope of the system, even elements such as maintenance and electricity. The DAT was tested with three case studies, each with different environmental constraints. The model was calibrated and verified against data from the three sites. The DAT boasts a user-friendly interface. It also has the ability to easily exchange data with other well-known computer applications. The partners involved in the development of the DAT are garnering support to continue refining and testing their product before going to market.