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Water supply management in an urban utility: A prototype decision support framework
KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Land and Water Resources Engineering.
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 [en]
Decision support systems; Geographic information systems; Participatory planning; Urban water supply management; Decision support framework; Action research
National Category
Water Engineering
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-11900ISBN: 978-91-7415-543-3 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kth-11900DiVA: diva2:288556
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
List of papers
1. Bridging the gap between academic research and technological practice: Roles, benefits and pitfalls of action research in information systems development
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Bridging the gap between academic research and technological practice: Roles, benefits and pitfalls of action research in information systems development
(English)Manuscript (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This paper highlights the shortfalls of traditional approaches to academic research in the technological sciences, with respect to their failure to effectively impact on practice and tosupport joint learning between academicians and practitioners. Action Research (AR) is proposedas a suitable way of bridging this gap. 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. It is recognized that AR methods provide apotential avenue to improve the practical relevance of Information Systems (IS) research. An ARapproach has been used in an ongoing study involving the development of Decision SupportSystems (DSS) for water supply management in Uganda. The study seeks to explore how thedegree of adoption of DSS in practice, generally perceived to be low, may be improved.However, AR is not without its challenges, many of which are both contextual and emergent innature, and these are highlighted in the paper. The case study thus provides an opportunity, notonly to carry out research specific to the particular field of study (IS development), but also to reflect on the roles, benefits and pitfalls of AR as a research approach.

Keyword
Action Research, Joint learning, Collaborative research, Decision Support Systems
National Category
Water Engineering
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-8668 (URN)
Note
QC 20100723Available from: 2008-06-04 Created: 2008-06-04 Last updated: 2010-07-23Bibliographically approved
2. Development of decision support tools for decentralised urban water supply management in Uganda: An action research approach
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Development of decision support tools for decentralised urban water supply management in Uganda: An action research approach
2009 (English)In: Computers, Environment and Urban Systems, ISSN 0198-9715, E-ISSN 1873-7587, Vol. 33, no 2, 122-137 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This paper presents a study in which four real-life problem situations are used to explore the challenges of developing and implementing decision support tools within air urban water utility. In the Study, all Action Research approach is used. with theoretical considerations leading to specific actions being implemented, which ill turn yield results that are used to reflect upon the original theoretical assumptions. Results of the study emphasize the need for proper problem-structuring prior to the formulation of actions, the challenges of moving from planning to action; the importance of User involvement in the development of tools; and how a good match of people, problem-structuring, proactiveness and participatory tools development is required for effective decision support provision. The study also highlights the challenges of embedding decision support within existing work systems ill organizations. The Action Research approach is shown to be useful in bridging the gap between theory and practice, aiding the development of decision Support tools of immediate and practical benefit to organizations.

Keyword
Decision support systems, Information systems, Work systems, Action Research
National Category
Water Engineering
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-8669 (URN)10.1016/j.compenvurbsys.2009.01.001 (DOI)000264736500006 ()2-s2.0-61349151111 (Scopus ID)
Note
QC 20100723Available from: 2008-06-04 Created: 2008-06-04 Last updated: 2017-12-14Bibliographically approved
3. Using geovisualisation to support participatory problem structuring and decision making for an urban water utility in Uganda
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Using geovisualisation to support participatory problem structuring and decision making for an urban water utility in Uganda
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.

Keyword
Decision support, Geovisualisation, Participatory problem structuring.
National Category
Water Engineering Geophysical Engineering
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-8670 (URN)2-s2.0-61349097498 (Scopus ID)
Note
QC 20100723Available from: 2008-06-04 Created: 2008-06-04 Last updated: 2012-02-13Bibliographically approved
4. Hydraulic modelling as a tool for problem analysis and decision support: Case study of the Naguru water supply system in Uganda
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Hydraulic modelling as a tool for problem analysis and decision support: Case study of the Naguru water supply system in Uganda
Show others...
(English)In: Journal of Hydroinformatics, ISSN 1464-7141, E-ISSN 1465-1734Article in journal (Other academic) Submitted
Abstract [en]

This paper describes a study in which hydraulic modeling was applied as a tool to guide planningand decision-making to address water distribution bottlenecks within an urban water supplysystem in Uganda. In response to chronic supply intermittencies and an ever-increasing outcryfrom affected customers, a number of interventions were proposed - and some implemented -formulated largely based on intuition, rule-of-thumb, and experience of the network operationalstaff. However, in recognition of the constraints of this approach in the face of an increasinglycomplex and ever-expanding network, a more rigorous and scientific approach was applied, inwhich simulation modeling was used to evaluate system performance under the various proposed interventions. Model results indicated that most of the proposed alternatives, including those thathad already been implemented, would yield unsatisfactory performance in the medium to longterm, albeit providing minimal relief in the short term. The study thus demonstrated the importance of application of formal tools such as hydraulic modeling as a replacement for moreintuitive and judgment-based network management approaches, especially given the large,complex and problem-prone water supply systems characteristic of urban utilities in developingcountries.

Keyword
Hydraulic modeling, Simulation, Water network management, Urban water systems
National Category
Water Engineering
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-11915 (URN)
Note
QS 20120327Available from: 2010-01-25 Created: 2010-01-25 Last updated: 2017-12-12Bibliographically approved
5. Exploring “commercial” water losses in an urban water supply system in Uganda: A geostatistical modeling approach
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Exploring “commercial” water losses in an urban water supply system in Uganda: A geostatistical modeling approach
2008 (English)In: Applied Spatial Analysis and Policy, ISSN 1874-463XArticle in journal (Other academic) Submitted
Abstract [en]

Like many urban water utilities, Kampala Water (KW) in Uganda has faced challenges in dealing with Non-Revenue Water, defined as the difference between water produced and water sold. One particular challenge has been in quantifying and localizing the “apparent” or “commercial” losses fraction of the water balance relating to the KW service area. This paper presents a study in which geostatistical modelling was used to investigate the possible causes of stagnation in watersales volumes within a selected part of the KW service area, despite continued growth in thecustomer base resulting from connection of new customers. In the study, a variogram model ofwater sales volumes was established. This model was then used to predict water sales volumes ona raster grid throughout the study area. The predicted volumes were compared with actual watersales for a selected period, and a difference map was generated. Subsequently, post plots of thelocations of various reported field anomalies (aged and defective meters, water supplyinsufficiencies, leaks, illegal consumption, disconnected accounts, and accounts billed onestimated consumption) were overlaid in turn on the difference map of water sales volumes.These map overlays were used to explore the spatial correlations between the prevalence of thedifferent categories of field anomalies and occurrences of large differences between actual andpredicted water sales volumes. The comparisons served to highlight the locations and possiblecauses of significant drops in water sales volumes. Through the study, a geostatistical analysis toolwas developed consisting of computer code written using R, an open-source statistical computingand graphics language and environment. This tool will be incorporated as a module within aspatial decision support system prototype being developed for the KW service area.

Keyword
Water loss analysis, Geostatistical modelling, Variogram analysis, Non-revenue water, Decision support systems
National Category
Oceanography, Hydrology and Water Resources Water Engineering
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-8671 (URN)
Note
QS 20120314Available from: 2008-06-04 Created: 2008-06-04 Last updated: 2018-01-13Bibliographically approved
6. When Action Plans Yield No Actions: Challenges of ImplementingNon-Revenue Water Reduction Strategies in an Urban Water Utilityin Uganda
Open this publication in new window or tab >>When Action Plans Yield No Actions: Challenges of ImplementingNon-Revenue Water Reduction Strategies in an Urban Water Utilityin Uganda
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The classical approach to water loss management in a piped water supply system is to gain anunderstanding of the underlying factors contributing to losses, both physical and non-physical,within the system, and there after to formulate and implement strategies and actions aimed attackling these underlying causes. However, undertaking extensive root-cause analysis, and generating detailed Action Plans as an output of this process, does not in itself guaranteeeffective redress in the face of high system losses, nor do detailed Action Plans automatically translate into effective remedial actions. Based on experiences within a real-life organization, this paper explores the challenge of moving from planning to action and from problem analysis to theeffective implementation of identified solutions, and a number of prerequisites to achieving this end are proposed.

Keyword
Non-revenue water reduction, Action plans, Water loss management, Urban water supply systems, Performance improvement initiatives
National Category
Water Engineering
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-11917 (URN)
Note
QC 20100723Available from: 2010-01-25 Created: 2010-01-25 Last updated: 2010-07-23Bibliographically approved
7. A web-based Customer Account Management portal for an urban water utility in Uganda
Open this publication in new window or tab >>A web-based Customer Account Management portal for an urban water utility in Uganda
Show others...
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The Kampala Water Supply Service Area (KWSSA) is one of twenty-two urban centres managed by theNational Water and Sewerage Corporation (NWSC), a public utility owned by the Government of Uganda. Owing to the size of the city and the scope of operations, management of KWSSA is decentralized to eleven administrative units referred to as Branches, which in turn are further subdivided into smaller geographical units, called Territories.

“Territorial Management”, a concept practiced within KWSSA, involves sub-division of the area ofoperation of a utility into geographical units small enough for a designated individual, the TerritorialManager (TM), to gain a personal knowledge of, and greater contact with, the customers within hisjurisdiction. This closer focus should, in principle, enable the TM to better control aspects of water sales and revenue collection within his territory, and at the same time make him more directly accountable forits performance relative to that of the company as a whole. Proper territorial management should act bothas an incentive for competition amongst territories (leading to global performance gains) and a basis forreward of exceptional achievers.

This paper describes the establishment of a web portal providing an integration framework for various GIS tools and services designed to support territorial customer account management within KWSSA. Inthe paper, a geodatabase has been established for a selected “Model Branch”, and a set of prototype webmappingapplications designed and implemented. These tools provide functionality for tracking the connection status of individual customers, their consumption and payment histories, as well as complaints received from the customers. The various tools have been brought together within a single vertical webportal, which also provides links to other kinds of information as well as customized content aggregations(mash-ups) relating to the organization.

Keyword
Web portal, Geographic Information Systems, Urban water utility management, Web mapping application, Spatial Decision Support Systems
National Category
Oceanography, Hydrology and Water Resources
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-11920 (URN)
Note
QC 20100723Available from: 2010-01-25 Created: 2010-01-25 Last updated: 2018-01-12Bibliographically approved

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Citation style
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  • ieee
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  • nn-NO
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Output format
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