OPTIMA: Optimisation   for Sustainable
Water Resources Management

Project Related Publications


Environmental Software & Services GmbH
Gumpoldskirchen, Austria

Prof. Dr. Nilgun Harmancioglu
SUMER, Dokuz Eylul University, Water Resources Management Research & Application Center
Buca/Izmir, Turkey


Water is one of the controlling factors of regional development around the Eastern and Southern Mediterranean. Scarcity and conflict characterize water resource management in many countries and river basins. Rapid demographic and economic development especially of the coastal zone, urbanization, industrialization, tourism, and an often inefficient agricultural sector as the dominant water user contribute to the problem. Low availability of renewable water, overexploited groundwater, inefficient infrastructure, pronounced seasonality with unfavourable demand patterns very different from the seasonal supply aggravate the situation.

Within the Framework of a FW6 sponsored INCO-MPC project, OPTIMA, a simulation based water resources planning and optimization system is being developed and applied in case studies in Cyprus, Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Palestine and Israel, Tunisia and Morocco.

The model system addresses both quantity and quality, water demand and supply, surface and groundwater, water technologies and efficiency of use, allocation strategies, costs and benefits. A web based client-server implementation supports distributed use and easy access, and a participatory approach involving local stake holders for multi-criteria optimisation and decision support.

The optimization uses heuristics and concepts of genetic programming, based on a realistic, detailed, dynamic and distributed representation of the individual river basins. The underlying dynamic (daily) simulation model describes the water resources systems at a basin scale including the groundwater system for conjunctive use. The model covers the physiographic and hydrological elements, but also aims to represents the institutional and regulatory framework, and the socio-economic driving forces.

The primary optimization identifies sets of non-dominated pareto-optimal solutions in heavily constrained scenarios; these are the basis for an interactive discrete multi-criteria selection with the participation of end users.

The multi-criteria approach covers global and sectoral demand and supply balances, reliability of supply, access, cost and benefits, including environmental and social aspects. Arbitrary penalty functions can be used for the valuation of violation of standards and missing targets, both shortfalls of supply as well as excess (flooding or pollution).

The approach and methodology are demonstrated using the case study of the Gediz river basin, which covers about 18,000 km2, approaches a total population of 2 million, and drains into the Aegean Sea. The case demonstrates the entire range of prototypical water management problems in the region, and their potential solutions. The case also demonstrates the importance of the institutional and regulatory framework, and the need for direct participation of major actors and stakeholders in the planning and decision making processes. A common shared and reliable information basis is a central element of the participatory approach.


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