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Development of a system dynamics model for the implementation of IWRM in South Africa
Expanded Title:IWRM is a logical and intuitively appealing concept. At its core lies the appreciation that the many different uses of our finite water resources are highly interdependent and that the sustainable development, allocation and monitoring of water resource use needs to take into account social, economic and environmental objectives. Then why, if IWRM makes such logical sense and is seemingly applied so widely, do we not see the results in the water sector that we might have envisaged. The answers to this question are many and varied, however it has been proposed countless times that non-optimal water governance and lack of integration are key issues of concern with far reaching impacts on all aspects of IWRM. Sectoral approaches to WRM still often prevail, which leads to fragmented and uncoordinated development and management of our valuable water resources. Freshwater ecosystems are complex ecological systems that comprise a number of highly interdependent components all linked in a continuous cycle, namely the hydrological cycle. Not only is each component of the freshwater ecosystem therefore able to exert an influence on any other component, but freshwater as a system also interacts with other systems. Human activities such as land use, waste disposal and air pollution can have major impacts on the quantity and quality of water available for human use, while the abstraction and storage of water and the discharge of waste into water resources can impact on the quality of the natural environment. This multitude of interacting components as well as the potential interactions between them must be considered and addressed holistically by water resource managers. Water must also be managed with its crucial social, political and economic importance in mind. The complexity of managing water resources is further compounded by the large number of domestic and international institutions and organisations involved in the administration and management of the various systems. (DWAF, 2007) It is therefore clear that water resource systems consists of a number of individual entities, all connected to each other in various ways and that the behaviour of the system can only be understood when considering it as a whole, i.e. all the individual entities together with all their interrelationships. It is also necessary to manage the constituent biophysical, socio-political and economic sub-systems of a water resource in a sustainable integrated manner (Campbell et al., 2001). Systems Modelling and Systems Thinking has in recent times seen the integration of so-called “hard” with “soft” sciences. This allows for its application to all aspects of IWRM, which includes both “hard” sciences such as ecosystem structure and function as well as “soft” sciences such as institutional arrangements, legal instruments, poverty alleviation, and gender equity. A further aspect of Systems Modelling that sets it apart from most other methods of IWRM optimisation is that it can accommodate the intrinsic dynamicity that forms part of all integrated management systems and which is especially relevant to IWRM in SA. Furthermore optimal water resource management requires the ability to measure performance in a system. To achieve this, key system variables indicative of the behaviour of the overall system need to be identified. These key variables may be referred to as performance indicators (Campbell et al., 2001). In terms of performance indicators IWRM initiatives in SA currently focus on the derivation of ecosystem health indicators (RQOs) as management tools. They are especially popular due to their ease of use and the ease with which results of ecosystem (health) assessments may be conveyed to resource managers. However, recent thinking suggests that the best approach for deriving comprehensive indicator sets (a set of indicators that maximally describes the behaviour of the system), involves developing systems models (Bossel, 2001). Finally, where most approaches to optimising IWRM take into account the most obvious components of a system, i.e. the direct observables or distinct entities comprising it they often do not adequately consider the relationships between these entities, which are critical to the behaviour of the system as a whole. The entities within e.g. an IWRM system are greatly interconnected, such that an impact on any component of the system registers as an impact on the entire system, being all the other components and their relationships. It is therefore necessary to implement an approach that can accommodate such complexity and system dynamics modelling (SDM) is advocated here as such an approach. As indicated above, to understand a system, it has to be viewed in its entirety. While this may be impractical in the “real” world, it is entirely possible to achieve a functional representation of a system through a process called Systems Modelling. In this process, the techniques of Systems Thinking are used in order to develop a Systems Diagram. Systems Diagrams are representations of systems that aid in the qualitative understanding of impacts on a system by perturbations. Systems Diagrams also act as functional templates for the development of System Dynamics Models that are used in the more accurate prediction of impacts through scenario development. In addition to the mentioned virtues of SDM in the optimisation of IWRM, there are other less obvious intrinsic benefits of using the proposed approach which relates to stakeholder involvement, “buy-in” and sense of ownership. Soft systems modelling (SSM) which is an approach that will be implemented extensively, particularly in the initial stages of the project, greatly facilitates the constructive participation of stakeholders from all sectors and levels of society, which has also been flagged as a major challenge within IWRM in SA. The following aims have been identified for this Phase of the overall study: • Optimisation of the approach to Integrated Water Resource Management • Fostering of successful co-operative governance in the study area • Synergising existing research and other related initiatives within the study area • Development of a comprehensive stakeholder/information database for the study area • Derivation of a preliminary set of IWRM performance indicators and/or criteria • Initiation of a performance management system for IWRM in the study area • Information dissemination and knowledge creation in the study area • Establishing a firm foundation for the development of an integrated CMS 7 APPROACH Integrated Water Resources Management should progress through a number of stages and although the process is more iterative than sequential, the following broad stages have been identified within in the full process (reference is made specifically to the steps involved in developing and implementing catchment management in SA as legislated by the NWA): Stage 1 involves identifying where we are (structuring the problem situation), where we want to be (developing scenarios for improving the problem situation), what the road signs are (defining performance measures such as indicators of Effectiveness - Are we doing the right things?, Efficacy - Is what we are doing working?, and Efficiency - Are we using the minimum amount of resources to get things done?) and what we need to do to get there (defining the changes needed to improve the problem situation {e.g. a CMS}) Stage 2 entails how we are going to do what is needed to get where we want to be (defining the actions needed to improve the problem situation {e.g. a CMP or WAP}). Stage 3 is about taking action (e.g. compulsory licensing, catchment restoration and/or rehabilitation, water use registration, etc.) through implementing the WAP and/or CMP in order to improve the problem situation. Stage 4 involves how we now when we get where we want to be (measuring indicator compliance to criteria {e.g. RQOs} through monitoring resource status). Stage 5 is about ensuring that once we reach our goal we stay where we wanted to be (ensuring indicator compliance to criteria {e.g. RQOs} through monitoring compliance). The overall project is aimed at explicitly addressing Stage 1 of the IWRM process with the main objective of assisting the proto-CMA and/or CMA to develop a Catchment Management Strategy and Plan for the purposes of successful IWRM implementation. According to the NWA a catchment management strategy (CMS) is established in a phased and progressive manner and in separate components over time (DWAF, 2007). The project is therefore conducted in a phased manner of which this study forms Phase 1. The overall project will entail three phases namely: I. Deriving performance indicators for IWRM implementation on a catchment scale II. Pilot implementation and design of the Performance Management System (PMS) III. Integration of national information management systems with the PMS. (Please note that this Phase is dependent on the progress of implementation of national management systems and may not be possible in the short term. As a result, the team will not submit a Phase III proposal in 2010, but will assess the status of national systems during the course of Phase II and possibly amend Phase III if necessary.) These phases are however not completely distinct as aspects of the pilot programme and the PMS will be initiated during Phase I. This inception report will focus on the detailed approach for Phase I of the project, which is divided into three stages: 1. Stakeholder engagement and establishing collaborations 2. Model design and development 3. Preliminary identification of performance indicators and design of a PMS
Date Published:01/03/2011
Document Type:Research Report
Document Subjects:Water Resource Management/IWRM - Planning and development, Water Resource Management/IWRM - Water Governance
Document Format:Report
Document File Type:pdf
Research Report Type:Standard
WRC Report No:1911/1/11
ISBN No:978-1-4312-0089-4
Authors:Wade M
Project No:K5/1911
Organizations:Jeffares & Green (Pty) Ltd
Document Size:5 552 KB
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