Annualmeeting:2017 CSDMS meeting-123

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Multicriteria Decision Analysis of Freshwater Resource Management in Southwestern Bangladesh

Chelsea Peters, Vanderbilt University Nashville Tennessee, United States.
Hiba Baroud, Vanderbilt University Nashville Tennessee, United States.
George Hornberger, Vanderbilt University Nashville Tennessee, United States.

[[Image:|300px|right|link=File:]]Freshwater resources in coastal Bangladesh fluctuate with extreme periods of shortage and abundance. Bangladeshis have adapted to these alternating periods but are still plagued with scarce drinking water resources due to pond water pathogens, salinity of groundwater, and arsenic contamination. The success of attempts to correct the problem of unsafe drinking water have varied across the southern Bangladesh as a result of physical and social factors. We use a multicriteria decision analysis (MCDA) to explore the various physical and social factors that influence decisions about freshwater technologies and management schemes in southern Bangladesh.

MCDA is a holistic, analytical tool for evaluation of alternatives. MCDA is used to support public participation and provide structured, rational, and transparent solutions to complex management problems. To determine the best freshwater technologies and management schemes, we examine four alternatives, including managed aquifer recharge (MAR), pond sand filter (PSF), rain water harvesting (RWH), and tubewells (TW). Criteria are grouped into four categories: environmental, technical, social, and economic. Weighting of social factors will be determined by community surveys, nongovernmental organizations (NGO) opinions, and academic interviews. Data include regional water quality perceptions, perceptions of management/technology success, MAR community surveys, and interviews with NGO partners. Environmental and technical feasibility factors are determined from regional water quality data, geospatial information, land use/land change, and regional stratigraphy.

Survey data suggest a wide range of criteria based on location and stakeholder perception. MAR and PSF technologies likely have the greatest environmental and technical potential for success but are highly influenced by community dynamics, individual perspective, and NGO involvement. RWH solutions are used less frequently due to quantity limitations but are most successful at reducing the water security threats of contamination by pathogens, arsenic, and salts. This MCDA informs us of community and stakeholder water resource decisions, specifically related to their objectives and values.