Decision support systems for river basin management


Yueping Xu

Martijn J. Booij

Arthur Mynett

Suzanne Hulscher


University of Twente



University of Twente


31 December 2000 – 31 December 2004


The use of models is essential for model-based decision support systems in river basin management. Often very complicated models are used, which are sometimes more than the needs of decision support systems. The use of too complicated models is also an obstacle for decision makers who seek support. Moreover, the uncertainties from different sources in the models add the difficulty to the decision makers who want to make a sound decision, especially under the situation of comparing (ranking) different river engineering measures. The consideration of uncertainty in this research is thus necessary in order to avoid wrong decisions associated with large losses. While uncertainty in decision- making process is undesirable for decision making, it can be used to help find appropriate models in decision support systems.


The objective of the project is to develop an appropriate model-based decision support system for river basin management in a systematic way under different sources of uncertainty in the models. The appropriateness of the decision support system can be defined as ‘the system can produce final model outputs from different river engineering measures, which enable the decision makers to distinguish or rank these measures’. An appropriateness framework will be designed in this research to help decision makers make a sound decision under high uncertainties in the model outputs and determine whether the models used in the decision support system are appropriate or not by investigating the role of uncertainty in the model outputs and how the uncertainty affects the ranking of the measures.


Xu, Y., Wind, H. G. & Kok, J. L. de (2002). Appropriate modeling in DSS for flood damage assessment. In Wu, B., Wang, Z.Y. & Et, al. (Ed.), Flood defence '2002, Proceedings of the second international symposium on flood defence, Vol II. (pp. 1159-1165). isbn. 1-880132-54-0.

Xu, Y.P. and Booij, M.J.. Appropriate modeling in DSSs for river basin management. Complexity and Integrated Resources Management. Proc. Second Biennial Meeting of the International Environmental Modelling and Software Society, 14-17 June 2004, Osnabrück, Germany. Paper submitted.

Xu, Y.P. and Booij, M.J.. Propagation of discharge uncertainty in a flood damage model for the Meuse River. Natural Hazards, paper submitted.

Xu, Y.P. and Booij, M.J., Appropriate models in decision support system in river basin management. Proc. Conference on Water Observation and Information System for Decision Support, 26 -29 May 2004, Ohrid, Republic of Macedonnia, paper submitted.