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This paper presents an overview of the River Basin Management System (RBMS), an Internet web application which provides regional authorities in Ireland's Eastern River Basin District with an environmental management system and decision support tools for designing equitable and cost-effective water quality improvement programs.

The RBMS provides a transparent, community-managed process that facilitates competing economic interests to equitably allocate the responsibility and costs associated with implementing a long-term water quality improvement plan. Regional stakeholders in three economic sectors (agriculture, industry, public infrastructure) needed an information system in which they could formulate and review plans, document decision criteria and ultimately agree upon programs that achieve “good” water quality status according to the European Union's Water Framework Directive (WFD) by 2015.

The RBMS evolved through a process of review and refinement. It encompasses an innovative use of web technologies that combine user-managed water quality risk assessments; “management at a glance” capabilities in a tactical and strategic dashboard; and a decision support system integrated with a geographical information system (GIS). The GIS visualizes environmental characteristics in the five natural water body types, across political and hydrometric boundaries, and encourages interactive exploration of regional geo-referenced information.

This dynamic system can adapt to a variety of new information, monitoring data and effectiveness to deliver transparent, reliable and adaptable means for equitable and cost-effective water quality improvement.

Links to authoritative regulations and mutual access to planning information provide uniformity, defensibility and collaborative trans-regional decision making. Further, the system will integrate “right time” water quality monitoring data with a task management subsystem that will support trend analysis and efficacy, and compare improvement plans with actual conditions.

Through a secure web interface, the RBMS provides authorized stakeholders at all levels a capable and flexible tool for planning, collaborating, monitoring, and reporting to achieve longterm, optimizing programs that will meet the WFD objectives.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2008-01-01

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