Handbook of Research on Hydroinformatics: Technologies, Theories and Applications

Handbook of Research on Hydroinformatics: Technologies, Theories and Applications

Tagelsir Mohamed Gasmelseid (University of Khartoum, Sudan)
Indexed In: SCOPUS View 2 More Indices
Release Date: July, 2010|Copyright: © 2011 |Pages: 618
ISBN13: 9781615209071|ISBN10: 1615209077|EISBN13: 9781615209088|DOI: 10.4018/978-1-61520-907-1


Researchers and decision makers who study natural resources and, in particular, water resource management, have acknowledged the significant role of hydroinformatics.

The Handbook of Research on Hydroinformatics: Technologies, Theories and Applications describes how hydroinformatics applications, tools and decision aids are manifested and can be integrated and enhanced in organizations, while presenting hydroinformatics as a function of both human and technological interactions. This book provides the latest research on the use of hydroinformatics to establish sustained linkages between the water system and other related systems.

Topics Covered

The many academic areas covered in this publication include, but are not limited to:

  • Building capacity for better water decision making
  • Decision Support Systems
  • Evolutionary Computation
  • Flood risk analysis
  • Hydrologic modelling and forecasting
  • Integrated watershed management
  • Service oriented hydrology intelligence
  • Urban water management
  • Water knowledge sharing based on global technology
  • Water Resources Management

Table of Contents and List of Contributors

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The effective management of water resources is moving rapidly to the front line agenda of policy makers and the community at large. Over years, there has been a considerable difficulty in maintaining supply-demand balances. Such complexity originates from the fact that available resources are being significantly affected by the expanding spatial shifts, environmental variability, climate change and pollution among others. On the other hand, demand is expanding in response to socio-technical, demographic, and economic transformations and the shift of the utility matrix of stakeholders. In response to such complexities there has been a growing tendency to focus on: 
(a) The engagement in strategic management and adoption of a holistic approach to understand the determinants of water supply and water demand management indicators. Because the entire water system is being conceptualized as a socio-technical system, water management strategies are driven by different water management paradigms. The migration from conventional, to sustainable and integrated paradigms has been associated with a wide range of water management orientations, intervention procedures and monitoring guidelines. (b) The development of basin wide initiatives, frameworks and conventions aiming at sustainable development, poverty reduction and conflict management among riparian countries interacting in shared basins. The Nile Basin initiative (NBI), the Zambezi Action Plan, the International Commission for the Protection of the Danube River (ICPDR), the International Sava River Commission and the Mekong River Commission (MRC), as examples of such initiatives. Such initiatives promote the adoption of consistent managerial frameworks and administrative arrangements to map out a wide range of development-specific visions, missions, strategies and programs.
(c) The use of information systems (mainly decision support systems) for the optimization of water allocation, water quality investigation, hydropower scheduling, reservoir management, and the preservation of the aquatic ecology. Coupling simulation and forecasting models has also been widely used to improve management processes, promoting efficient use behaviors and involving stakeholders (Gasmelseid, 2006). Despite the fragmentation of information systems and technologies infusion and diffusion in the processes of water management, their use ranges across a continuum starting from sector-specific water applications (irrigated agriculture, urban water, industrial, etc) to a river and basin wide oriented applications such as the Colorado River DSS and the River Nile DSS. However, the emphasis on articulating structured quantitative settings and glorifying information variations leads to an internally-oriented diagnosis and analysis and narrow conceptualization of problem domains and solution spaces (Gasmelseid, 1997). In addition, there has been an intensive use of digital mapping and interfacing techniques. In the absence of comprehensive integrated information models and information system architectures, the use of such maps, under some conditions such as risk analysis, creates a state of over appendance of irrelevant information and constitutes a serious limiting factor for decision making (Gasmelseid, 2000). The use of information systems has also been accompanied with the emergence of different disciplines such as Hydroinformatics.

As a discipline, Hydroinformatics is concerned with the application of information and decision support systems (conventional, intelligent and web based) to the management of water resources. It combines knowledge about the environmental and spatial domain of resource acquisition, development and use, the determinants of social and economic interactions, industrial dynamics as well as organizational, managerial and ethical perspectives. It promotes the application of modern information system technologies and formal and computational methods to the acquisition, processing, representation, sharing and use of water management information. It puts considerable focus on the use of such technologies in understanding the objects, attributes and properties, processes and procedures and phenomena occurring at different managerial, spatial and environmental scales and locations in the water system. In addition, it also emphasizes the importance of removing some of the methodological gaps associated with environmental systems in general by advocating the adoption of systematic methods, situation scanning and model coupling.
The contribution of Hydroinformatics to the effective management of water resources can be seen from its emphasis on: 

(a) The use of the principles of the General Systems Theory to conceptualize the context of decision making, problem domain and the necessary decision support to be developed and deployed. The conformity of the various water management paradigms (conventional, sustainable and integrated) with the principles of the General Systems improves the capacity of decision makers to understand the functionalities of the entire water system within the context of its internal processes as well as the other systems interacting in its external environment.  The adoption of such integrated and system oriented approach allows for the incorporation of spatial and environmental indicators and the representation of knowledge about the hydrological, hydraulic and morphological physical structures of water systems. On the other hand, mainstreaming information about the functionalities and objectives of decision making partners (water management organizations, water users, etc) and stakeholders (directly and/or indirectly affected by the dynamics of the entire water system) improves the capacity to model the entire water system. Accordingly, the capacity of the entire water system can be monitored and simulated at different scale. As a result, there has been an improvement with regards to:
(i) the management of the expanding downside risks associated with the analysis of  uses of water patterns and (ii) the articulation and management of resource-based conflicts and reduction of their impacts both in scale (food shortage, decline of biodiversity, urban water concerns, etc) and magnitude.
(ii) The articulation of appropriate decision supports needed and the relevant deployment scale. Despite their emphasis on improved water management, water management paradigms use different scales for the articulation of the integration context associated with decision making processes and support tools. While the use of hydrological or administrative boundaries has been widely used, maintaining an integrated domain calls for the use of a hydro-administrative focus and accordingly a different methodology and approach.

(b) The use of an organizationally-based and decision-making oriented approach to address water management processes by considering the growing need for management and decision support information. However, provision of information for decision making is governed by many organizational patterns (centralized vs. decentralized organizational structures) that significantly affect its flow and utilization. Understanding the organizational and institutional context is a prerequisite for crystallizing the dynamics of the decision making domain to be supported by Hydroinformatics applications and platforms.

(c) A framework for technology management that guides the selection of technology-intensive acquisitions and improving the capacity to manage them in pursuit of improving outcomes. The unprecedented advancements experienced in the field of information systems has resulted in improved performance and increasingly sophisticated enterprise-wide information platforms. Developments range from technological settings (data capturing, processing and communication technologies) to methodologies and techniques of information analysis and representation. While hardware is exhibiting more compatibility and functionality, software is showing outstanding interface and reliability capabilities that enable decision makers to process the dramatically growing volume of information available to them. The expanding use of the internet is re-shaping both the morphology and functionality of Hydroinformatics.

(d) A framework for innovation necessary for the development of new methods and tools of problem solving in different contexts and under different changing situations. Innovative applications and interventions include the following:  
(i) River modeling and management including the examination and forecasting of flooding problems in urban catchments and coastal areas, river waste water quality modeling, and water resource system simulation.
(ii) Policy modeling including impact assessment for harbors, marine modeling (hydrodynamic and eutorphication), data assimilation in hydrodynamic and hydrological modeling and off-site nuclear emergency management, environmental examination of proposed interventions for rehabilitation of irrigation schemes; and
(iii) capacity building and strategic analysis of basin-wide water resources management, lake and stream restoration assessment and effect evaluation of discharging treated sewage in the river system, hydraulic assessment and evaluation of restoration options, environmental monitoring of lakes and streams, oil spill modeling, pollution monitoring and environmental legislation. 

This publication has been arranged into four main parts. The first part is dedicated to contextual analysis and the application domain of Hydroinformatics with the aim of reflecting on water management systems and paradigms, analysis, definitions, methodologies, and integrated resource management concepts. This part includes seven chapters. In his work on the agenda of Hydroinformatics, Antonio A. R. Ioris emphasizes the centrality of the social dimension of water management and issues related to power and political disputes and coupling IT-related issues with a thorough understanding of the impact of social and spatial differentials on the use and conservation of water systems. Goshu Worku introduces the driving concepts of integrated water management and shows the link between integrated watershed management and sustainable development which a country envisages to reach and the contribution of integrated watershed management to sustainable development. Howard et al, present a collaborative, stakeholder-driven resource modeling and management approach to quickly simulate water management strategies and support capacity building processes. In their work on internet-based decisions support system Salewicz et al, present a review of the possibilities offered by the use of such systems in water-related decision making processes. Mukhtar Hashemi and Enda O’Connell presented a conceptual framework for development of policy-relevant decision support systems within the context of water resources management.

The concepts investigated in the above mentioned chapters have been illustrated by case studies in two chapters. Majule, A.E. attributed the problems facing the effective management of natural resources and sustainability in the Mara River Basin (MRB) to the lack of Integrated River Management practices and introduced an integrated framework to assist in integrating projects, programs, stakeholders and cultural aspects. In her chapter on Building Sudan Water Knowledge Sharing Based on Global Technology, Rafaa Ghobrial introduced the concepts of sharing water knowledge in Sudan.

The second part is devoted to the description of some of the methodologies used for Knowledge representation and reasoning in the context of water resources management. It includes three chapters. Farmani, et al, present a participatory approach based on causal loop diagram, Bayesian belief networks and evolutionary multiobjective optimization. The basic aim is manage conflicting objectives in the decision making process through the incorporation of the views of a range of different factors and ensuring their involvement. Pethuru Raj Chelliah introduces the concept of Service Oriented Hydrology Intelligence (SOHI) through the use of the driving concepts of service oriented architectures. In the third chapter of this part, Bellie Sivakumar presents a comprehensive review of the applications of chaos theory in hydrology with emphasis on its current context and potential future progress and challenges. 

The third part of this handbook, which includes eleven chapters, is devoted to the understanding of the context of information modeling with some emphasis on risk management and forecasting. Using two wadi (Seasonal streams) discharge prediction methodologies, El Gamri, et al, focus on predicting the discharge of Khor (wadi) in Sudan.  Ernst, et al, presented an end-to-end methodology for assessing flood protection strategies to assist in decision making under conditions of climate change. With reference to the outcomes of the Risk Management of Extreme Flood Events (RIMAX) research program, Petersen, Cullmann and Bittner explained the process of basin-wide water resources management and the articulation of alternative flood management strategies. Mukhtar Hashemi and Enda O’Connell present an integrated methodological framework for the development of decision support systems guided by the core concepts of decision making and the analytical context of IWRM.  Nashon and Kiema use hydrological data and riparian population growth to develop a dynamic simulation model for the Lake Victoria’s water level to assist in mainstreaming the impact of the main drivers of the lake’s water balance. Ostfeld presents a review of some of the recently applied evolutionary computation methodologies to conceptualize the optimal design of single and multi-objective water distribution systems. Nadia Ibrahim describes the use of environmental monitoring to manage sediments water in the River Nile Basin with emphasis on Sudan. In his work on principal component analysis of hydrological data, Praus describes its role in obtaining information about wastewater treatment processes, drinking water quality in a city network and to find similarities in the data sets of ground water quality results and water-related images. Tagelsir Gasmelseid describes the use of system innovation methodologies to integrate management information systems in urban water management with emphasis on capacity building processes. Gichuki, et al, discuss the environmental conditions in Lake Victoria and their impacts on the fish stocks. In the last chapter of this part, Shadrack and Nguta describe the retention efficiency of Kimondi wetland in North Nandi District in Kenya in terms of nitrogen and phosphorus.

The fourth part is devoted to the presentation of the enabling technologies and information processing paradigms. It includes four chapters. Twesigye explained the application of Remote Sensing Technologies and Geographical Information Systems in Monitoring Environmental Degradation in the Lake Victoria Watershed, East Africa. In the second chapter Gehan et al, discussed the use of GIS to in follow the Fertilizers Pollution Migration. Alemaw, et al, explained in the third chapter a geostatistical modeling approach to improve spatio-temporal rainfall interpolation using remote sensing CCD data in a tropical basin. In the last chapter, Farid El-Daoushy examined the needs for using Global Tracers to assess Environment-climate Impacts in the Nile Basin for Decision-making.


Gasmelseid, T. (1997). From data to information: the integration of space-generated data into DSS". In Proceedings of the 27th international symposium on information for sustainability, the Norwegian Space Centre, Tromso, Norway, (pp. 588-590).
Gasmelseid, T. (2000). Water Information Systems in Developing Countries: Community-based Analysis and Design. In Proceedings of the international Conference on Computing and Control for the water Industry, CCWI’99. Exeter, UK. September 1999. And also in: Water Industry Systems: Modeling and Optimization Applications. Savic D. (Ed.), Research Studies Press, London, 2000, (pp. 15-21).
Gasmelseid, T. (2006). A Multi Agent Negotiation Framework in Resource Bounded Environments. In Proceedings of the international conference on information and communication technologies: from theory to practice. Damascus Syria, 24-28 April, 2006. Also in Information and Communication Technologies, 2006. ICTTA '06. 2nd (1), 465-470, ISBN: 0-7803-9521-2, Date Published in Issue: 2006-10-16 09:45:39.0.

Author(s)/Editor(s) Biography

Tagelsir Mohamed Gasmelseid holds BSc, MSc, postgraduate diploma, MPhil and PhD degrees in information systems. He published some articles in referred journal and contributed to some international conferences. His research interests include multi-agent, mobile and context aware systems, agent oriented software engineering and simulation, service oriented architectures and the use of software agents in management and decision support systems for Hydroinformatics, electronic commerce, medical informatics and electronic government. He is affiliated as an associate professor, Information Systems, College of Computer Sciences and Information Technology, King Faisal University (Saudi Arabia).