Department Environmental Social Sciences

Practical decision analysis for value-focused planning of wastewater infrastructures

The aim of this dissertation project is to help facilitate better decision-making in urban water management. To achieve this, a structured decision-making process will be developed, along with a practical approach to evaluate the various strategic options. The development of these solutions will be based on Multi-Criteria Decision Analysis (MCDA) and will build on the Sustainable Water Infrastructure Planning (SWIP) project. In order to be able to implement the process developed in SWIP, certain optimization and simplification measures are necessary. The following questions are the focus of our research:

  •  How can the objectives that are aimed for in a particular decision be most effectively and simply structured? How do the various so-called objectives hierarchies influence stakeholders’ preferences and the elicitation of these?
  • What attributes (indicators) are suitable for measuring the consequences of a decision? And which ones are suited to communicate with stakeholders?
  • How can we improve predictions with regard to the effects of wastewater discharge into surface waters?
  • How can we best represent the preferences of stakeholders in an MCDA model? How do we take account of these preferences?

We will be examining our research questions in close collaboration with practitioners. The decision-making processes concerning mergers and closures of wastewater treatment plants will serve as concrete examples for our research. These decision-making processes are often highly complex. They involve numerous objectives that are sometimes in conflict with one another. They affect long time ranges and a number of interests. Our decision analysis is an ideal approach to viewing such complex issues in a holistic way.


PD Dr. Judit Lienert Group Leader, Cluster: DA (Decision Analysis) Tel. +41 58 765 5574 Send Mail


PD Dr. Judit Lienert Group Leader, Cluster: DA (Decision Analysis) Tel. +41 58 765 5574 Send Mail


Project duration: 2015-2019