Decision Support Systems


The UNEP-DHI Centre is able to provide Decision Support Systems (DSS) that combine databases, models, GIS and web technologies with configurable decision logics that allow water managers to make informed decisions and provide answers to important management questions.

This is a newer area of work for the Centre that primarily draws upon DHI’s expertise and experiences. References include the following:

Assignment name:
Development and Deployment of the Nile Basin Decision Support System
Start date (month/year): 05/2009
Completion date (month/year): 05/2012
Country: Ethiopia (on behalf of all Nile Basin countries)
Location within country: Addis Ababa
Duration of assignment (months): 36
Name of Client:
Nile Basin Initiative (NBI)
Total No of staff-months of the assignment: 157
Narrative description of Project:

The riparian countries of the Nile – Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Sudan, Tanzania, and Uganda; Eritrea participates as observer – have embarked on the Nile Basin Initiative (NBI). The NBI is governed by the Council of Ministers of Water Affairs of the Nile Basin states (Nile Council of Ministers, or Nile-COM) and seeks to develop the river Nile in a cooperative manner, share substantial socioeconomic benefits, and promote regional peace and security. Their shared vision is: to "achieve sustainable socioeconomic development through the equitable utilization of, and benefit from, the common Nile Basin water resources," leading to a Strategic Action Program (SAP) to translate this vision into concrete activities and projects. Under the aegis of its Water Resources Planning and Management (WRPM) Project, DHI will develop and deploy the Nile Basin Decision Support System (NB DSS) to support water resources planning and investment decisions in the Nile Basin, especially those with cross-border or basin level ramifications. The system comprises an information management system, a regional river basin modelling system, and a suite of analytical tools to support multi-objective analysis of investment alternatives. NB DSS will aid the development of core national capabilities to assist in the evaluation of alternative development paths and the identification of joint investment projects at sub-regional (ENTRO and NELSAP-CU) and regional levels (NBI). The project includes the design, development, adaptation, testing and deployment of NB DSS at regional, sub-regional and national level as well as proof-of-concept, training, and continued support after the final deployment of NB DSS.


Assignment name:
Development of DSS for Integrated Water Resources Development and Management
Start date (month/year): 10/2008
Completion date (month/year): 09/2012
Country: India
Location within country:Several Indian states
Duration of assignment (months): 48
Name of Client:
National Institute of Hydrology
Total No of staff-months of the assignment: 126
Narrative description of Project:

As part of the National Hydrology Project II, a generic Decision Support System (DSS) will be developed for integrated water resources planning and management for nine Indian states and selected central agencies. The DSSs to be developed for integrated water resources development and management of water resource systems are to be customized for the needs of every state. The five components of DSS Planning are: (i) Surface water planning; (ii) Integrated operation of reservoirs; (iii) Conjunctive surface water and ground water planning; (iv) Drought monitoring, assessment and management; and (v) Management of both surface and ground water quality.


Assignment name:
Development of Real-time DSS for Operational Management of Reservoirs of BBMB
Start date (month/year): 10/2008
Completion date (month/year): 09/2013
Country: India
Location within country: North-west
Duration of assignment (months): 60
Name of Client:
Bhakra Beas Management Board
Total No of staff-months of the assignment: 53
Narrative description of Project:

The Bhakra Beas Management Board is in charge of regulating water and power from reservoirs within the Bhakra-Nangal and Beas Projects for use in various states in Northwest India The objective of this project is to equip BBMB with a real-time operational DSS strengthened with state-of-the-art data acquisition and advanced communication system for Real-time operational management of Bhakra and Beas reservoirs in an integrated manner.

Description of actual services provided by your staff within the assignment:

DHI is the lead firm and in charge of the detailed needs assessment and the system development. The Real-time DSS will enable forecasting of catchment precipitation and runoff and support decisions for real-time operational planning and management of the reservoirs and the regulation of water supply to the irrigation systems downstream. A sub-system is developed to forecast flooding and help improving flood preparedness and management. DHI will further undertake installation, testing, refinement, evaluation, fine-tuning, commissioning and operational training of DSS besides organization of dissemination and training programmes and development of an effective outreach plan.


Assignment name:
Computer Aided River Management System
Start date (month/year): 02/2011
Completion date (month/year): 11/2012
Country: Australia
Location within country:Murrumbidgee River Basin
Duration of assignment (months):24
Name of Client:
State Water Corporation of New South Wales
Total No of staff-months of the assignment: 120
Narrative description of Project:

The NSW State Water Corporation is responsible for the bulk water deliveries for the State 11 regulated river basins. As part of a modernisation and water efficiency diver, SWC has decided to implement a Computer Aided River Management (CARM) system for the largest river basin, the Murrumbidgee. The river is one of Australia’s longest at 1600km, and it is a major source of irrigation water to the Riverina region in NSW as well as an important source of water to the surrounding wetlands. Current management of the river is complicated due to the complex nature of the river system, coupled with the critical need to meet irrigation, environmental, and town water demands, and this often results in excess water being released and subsequently lost to the river system. The project aims to increase the efficiency of river operations and to ensure that irrigators, environmental and other customers receive the right amount of water at the right location at the right time. The CARM ‘engine’ comprises a suite of MIKE by DHI simulation models, that accurately reproduce key catchment and river processes, including tributary inflows, river flow travel times, evaporation from open water and evapotranspiration from riparian vegetation. The CARM will make full use of the existing and new monitoring data, including rainfall measurements and forecasts, river flows and extractions. The underlying hydraulic river simulation model will allow for a high level of control of the river, and allow State Water to accurately target both irrigation requirements and the watering of key habitats including the Lowbidgee Wetlands, one of the most important waterbird breeding sites in the region. When combined with a powerful optimization tool, the hydraulic model can minimise the impacts of dam releases during floods, and synchronise releases to “piggyback” on tributary inflows to inundate environmental assets and wetlands. The project includes the design, development, adaptation, testing and deployment the CARM DSS in the Murrumbidgee basin as a first step to a roll out throughout the state. The project also includes a 5 year maintenance and support programme.