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Sustainability Goal Programming For Total Water Management

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With the Triple Bottom Line (TBL) of Sustainability, total water management efforts must analyze alternatives to address the potentially conflicting goals of economics (financial), environmental, and social issues. Goal programming is a technique which uses optimization methods to provide a means to solve a problem by striving towards multiple objectives simultaneously. This research seeks to apply an optimization framework to the integrated water supply planning process. The research has developed a methodology that can successfully generate a feasible set of alternative solutions while balancing all three goals of the TBL.

Performance measures for each of the three goals (economic, environmental, and social) are the core building blocks to enable analysis of total water management plans. Generally, economic goals are well understood and defined. Over the past decade, environmental goals have been developing enhanced understanding and usage. Special attention will be paid to the third pillar of sustainability – social, which is generally agreed that measures are lacking. A targeted survey of industry experts indicated that the social sustainability metrics showing the most promise for use are related to affordability, reliability, and resilience.

Furthermore, the research showed that the goal programming methodology could use existing data (utility master plans) and tools (Excel) to execute the model and develop tradeoffs between the various aspects of the TBL. In the demonstration with real world utility data, examples are shown detailing the relative costs for enhanced environmental and social goal achievement. The methodology has the potential to provide increased visibility to cost, societal and environmental issues for the decision makers in order to enhance the decision analysis of water supply strategies by incorporating the environmental and social aspects of sustainability into the decision process.

Keywords: Analysis; Optimization; Sustainability; Total Water Management

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2009-01-01

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  • Proceedings of the Water Environment Federation is an archive of papers published in the proceedings of the annual Water Environment Federation® Technical Exhibition and Conference (WEFTEC® ) and specialty conferences held since the year 2000. These proceedings are not peer reviewed.

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