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1.6c Challenges in applying decision support tools for sustainable management of municipal water infrastructure


Swedish water infrastructure has a large investment debt that is expected to grow even larger in the future. To strengthen their ability to manage the investment debt, municipalities can take various measures. At the strategic level, for example, they can plan their maintenance work and establish long-term investment plans. A prerequisite for taking these measures is the production of decision-making documents that illustrate which investments need to be made and when. The use of decision support tools is important in order to produce this information.

When it comes to applying decision support tools, there are several challenges for water and wastewater organizations at the operational level. Water infrastructure is complex and requires large amounts of data to be collected and processed, which in turn requires large amounts of human resources. In addition, decision support tools need to be accepted and used by the people working in the water and wastewater organization.

There are many decision support tools that water and wastewater organizations could use, but the tools could be used to a much greater extent than they actually are. Possible explanations for not using them in practice may be that it can be a challenge to convince and educate users about the value and benefits of the tools, and to ensure that users have sufficient skills to use the tools effectively.

Project goal

The purpose of this project is to investigate and map the obstacles for a broader application of decision support tools in water and wastewater organizations. This is done to promote long-term sustainable management of municipal water infrastructure. By analyzing and understanding the challenges and barriers related to tool complexity, data quality, uncertainties, user acceptance and resource limitations, the project aims to promote the implementation of effective strategies to overcome these barriers.

  • Investigate and map the challenges and barriers to the application of decision support tools within VA organizations.
  • Propose recommendations for the implementation and use of decision support tools in the water sector.
  • Develop a follow-on project to implement and scale up the use of decision support tools in water and wastewater organizations.