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Using geovisualisation to support participatory problem structuring and decision making for an urban water utility in Uganda
KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Land and Water Resources Engineering, Environmental Management and Assessment.
KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Land and Water Resources Engineering, Environmental Management and Assessment.
2008 (English)In: Applied GIS, ISSN 1832-5505, Vol. 4, no 2, 1-33 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This paper describes the application of geovisualisation to facilitate participatory identification and structuring of problems in an urban water supply system in Uganda. The city of Kampala has experienced rapid expansion over the years, with a corresponding increase inthe demand for piped water supply. However, this demand was not well matched with expansion of the water supply system, and as a result parts of the city have been facingchronic supply anomalies and insufficiencies. Faced with the task of identifying remedies to theproblems in the system, the city water company undertook a formal participatory problemstructuring and decision analysis process, to try and understand the underlying causes of system failures as well as the geospatial patterns of these failures. As part of this process,analysis, mapping and geovisualisation of data derived from historical records of waterconsumption, as well as records of pipe breakages, supply intermittences, and other recordedcustomer complaints, was done. The maps so produced were key in bringing the variousstakeholders and decision makers to a common understanding of the problem issues, andhelped in the formulation of alternative courses of action. Furthermore, with the establishment of a formal discussion forum for problem analysis and decision making, structured participatory decision making was entrenched within the company’s work ethos. It is hoped that in future,the coupling of the geovisualisation tools with the existing operational databases in thecompany will result in the development of a functional spatial decision support system and adynamic framework for system performance monitoring and reliability assessment.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2008. Vol. 4, no 2, 1-33 p.
Keyword [en]
Decision support, Geovisualisation, Participatory problem structuring.
National Category
Water Engineering Geophysical Engineering
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-8670Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-61349097498OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kth-8670DiVA: diva2:14052
Note
QC 20100723Available from: 2008-06-04 Created: 2008-06-04 Last updated: 2012-02-13Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Development of Decision Support Tools for Urban Water Supply Management in Uganda
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Development of Decision Support Tools for Urban Water Supply Management in Uganda
2008 (English)Licentiate thesis, comprehensive summary (Other scientific)
Abstract [en]

In this study, five real-life problem situations were used to explore the challenges of developing and implementing decision support tools for management of an urban water utility in Uganda. The study sought to explore how the degree of adoption of formal decision support tools in practice, generally perceived to be low, could be improved. In the study, an Action Research (AR) approach was used. AR is an inquiry process that involves partnership between researchers and practitioners for the purpose of addressing a real-life problem issue, while simultaneously gener-ating scientific knowledge. Unlike other research methods where the researcher seeks to study organizational phenomena but not to change them, the action researcher attempts to create or-ganizational change and simultaneously to study the process. It is recognized that AR methods provide a potential avenue to improve the practical relevance of Information Systems (IS) re-search.

The five cases that were considered in the study involved participatory problem structuring to address water distribution bottlenecks; identification of Non-Revenue Water (NRW) reduction strategies; facilitation of decentralized management of customer accounts; monitoring and con-trol of procurements and expenditure; and geospatial investigation of declining water sales. Dur-ing the study, participation in problem identification was achieved through discussions and brain-storming sessions bringing together top and middle managers within the organization. A number of prototype decision support tools were developed and implemented. Maps and other geovisu-alization tools were also used to inform and enhance the processes of collective problem identifi-cation and structuring.

Results of the study emphasized the need for proper problem structuring prior to the formula-tion of actions; the challenge of moving from planning to action; the importance of user in-volvement in the development of tools; and the need to manage IS implementation as part of a holistic, organization-wide change process. The challenges of embedding formal decision support within existing work systems in organizations were highlighted, and recommendations were made on how best to achieve this. The AR approach was found to be useful in bridging the gap be-tween academic research and technological practice, thus supporting the development of IS with immediate and practical benefits to organizations.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: KTH, 2008. x, 36 p.
Series
Trita-LWR. LIC, ISSN 1650-8629 ; 2041
Keyword
Decision support systems, Participatory decision-making, Geovisualization, Non-revenue water, Geostatistics, Action research
National Category
Water Engineering
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-4803 (URN)978-91-7415-018-6 (ISBN)
Presentation
2008-06-13, V3, KTH, Teknikringen 72, Stockholm, 13:15
Opponent
Supervisors
Note
QC 20101115Available from: 2008-06-04 Created: 2008-06-04 Last updated: 2010-11-15Bibliographically approved
2. Water supply management in an urban utility: A prototype decision support framework
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Water supply management in an urban utility: A prototype decision support framework
2009 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

In this study, four real-life problem situations were used to explore the challenges of developing and implementing decision support tools for planning and management within an urban water utility. The study sought to explore how the degree of adoption of formal decision support tools in practice, generally perceived to be low, could be improved. In the study, an Action Research (AR) approach was used. AR is an inquiry process that involves partnership between researchers and practitioners for the purpose of addressing a real-life problem issue, while simultaneously generating scientific knowledge. Unlike other research methods where the researcher seeks to study organizational phenomena but not to change them, the action researcher attempts to create organizational change and simultaneously to study the process.

During the study, a number of prototype data management tools were developed. GIS-based spatial analysis and visualisation tools were extensively used to inform and enhance the processes of participatory problem identification and structuring, while a number of modelling tools were applied in the generation and evaluation of alternative solutions. As an outcome of the study, a prototype framework for the application of decision support tools within an urban water supply planning and management context was proposed.

The study highlighted the challenges of embedding formal decision support processes within existing work systems in organizations, and recommendations were made on how best to achieve this. The AR approach was found to be useful in bridging the gap between academic research and technological practice, supporting the development of computerised planning and decision support tools of practical benefit to organizations.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: KTH, 2009. x, 45 p.
Series
Trita-LWR. PHD, ISSN 1650-8602 ; 1054
Keyword
Decision support systems; Geographic information systems; Participatory planning; Urban water supply management; Decision support framework; Action research
National Category
Water Engineering
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-11900 (URN)978-91-7415-543-3 (ISBN)
Public defence
2010-02-05, Conference Room, Department of Food Science and Technology, Makerere University, Kampala, Uganda, 10:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Note
QC 20100723Available from: 2010-01-25 Created: 2010-01-21 Last updated: 2010-07-23Bibliographically approved

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