Design of water resources systems in developing countries : the lower Mekong Basin.
Water resources development -- Southeast Asia.
Water resources development -- Mekong River Watershed.
Committee ChairKisiel, Chester C.
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractThis study focuses on the design of water resources systems in developing nations with particular reference to the development of water resources in the Lower Mekong Basin (Khmer Republic, Laos, Thailand, and Republic of South Viet-Nam). The determination of the "best" system in terms of social goals reflecting the economic and social environment of the Mekong countries is the main issue of this dissertation. The imperfection of the usual technique for planning water resources systems, namely, cost-benefit analysis, leads to the use of the standardized cost-effectiveness methodology. To illustrate how the design is accomplished, two distinctly different structural alternatives of possible development in the Lower Mekong Basin are defined. The design process starts from the statements of goals or objectives of water resources development, which are then mapped onto specifications sets in which social needs are represented. Next, the capabilities of alternative systems are determined through simulation in which three 50-year sequences of synthetic streamflow are generated by a first order autoregressive scheme. The two alternatives are then compared using both quantitative and qualitative criteria. To illustrate how a decision in selecting an alternative system could be reached, ranking of criteria by order of preference is demonstrated. With the choice of either a fixed-cost or fixed-effectiveness approach, the decision to select the best alternative system could be made. At this point, the use of a weighting technique, which is a common fallacy of systems analysis, will be automatically eliminated. The study emphasizes that a systematic design procedure of water resources systems is provided by the standardized cost-effectiveness approach, which possesses several advantages. The approach will suggest and help identify the system closest to meeting the desired economic and social goals of the developing countries in the Lower Mekong Basin. In this connection, the approach will help governments in the preparation of programming and budgeting of capital for further investigations and investments. It is believed that the approach will eliminate unnecessary expenses in projects that are planned on an individual basis or by methods used at present. Further, the approach provides an appropriate mechanism for generating essential information in the decision process. Both quantifiable and non-quantifiable criteria are fully considered. The choice of a fixed-cost or fixed-effectiveness approach will determine the trade-off between these criteria. The study recognizes that research to determine appropriate hydrologic models for monthly streamflow generation for tributary projects in the Basin is necessary. This leads to another important area of research which is to find the appropriate number of monthly sequences of streamflow to be generated in relation to number of states and decision variables. Research on the design of computer experiments is necessary to improve simulation as a tool to estimate the quantitative effects of a given project.
Degree NamePh. D.
Degree ProgramHydrology and Water Resources