Nonquantitative Methods in Water Resources Management

by Rammohan K. Ragade, Asst. Prof.; Systems Sci. Centre, Univ. of Louisville, Louisville, Ky.,
Tharakkal E. Unny, (M.ASCE), Prof.; Dept. of Civ. Engrg. Univ. of Waterloo, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada,
Keith William Hipel, Assoc. Prof.; Dept. of Systems Design, Univ. of Waterloo, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada,

Serial Information: Journal of the Water Resources Planning and Management Division, 1976, Vol. 102, Issue 2, Pg. 297-309

Document Type: Journal Paper


In water resources planning, problems often arise where consideration has to be given to intangible variables. If quantitative optimization techniques are used, assigning numeric values to the intangibles usually fails to account for them satisfactorily. Furthermore quantifying such factors can be classed under unnatural methods of analysis. This is particularly true in humanistic and societal decision making, where one has to make many kinds of ethical and value judgments. Quantitative optimization methods though precise, become hard to justify unless supplemented by subjective and other criteria. This paper examines the aforesaid problems and surveys alternative methods of analysis based upon nonquantitative (i.e., non-numeric and quasi-numeric) considerations of the variables. These methods include fuzzy set theory, metagame analysis, and pseudoboolean methods.

Subject Headings: Management methods | Water resources | Resource management | Numerical methods | Social factors | Decision making | Ethics | Optimization models

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