An analysis of the requirements for DSS on integrated river basin management

Mariele Evers (Faculty of Environmental Sciences and Technology, Leuphana University of Lüneburg, Suderburg, Germany)

Management of Environmental Quality

ISSN: 1477-7835

Publication date: 4 January 2008



The purpose of this paper is to review the crucial elements of integrated river basin management (IRBM) and their legal frameworks which have to be considered in a comprehensive management approach. A wide range of decision support systems (DSS) have been developed for IRBM‐related fields during the last few decades. However, most of the developed systems are either not used in practice or are used by people other than those they were designed for. The paper also discusses whether DSS are useful for IRBM and presents the requirements which have to be considered in the development of IRBM‐DSS.


Beside literature research, a variety of requirement elicitation techniques such as interviews, buzz groups, questionnaire and prototype evaluation were employed. Feedback from roughly 200 experts representing different work fields and river basins in Central and Western Europe was collected.


Different legal frameworks of IRBM fields were analysed with a view to determining whether they can be applied in a comprehensive approach. Broad elicitations affirm that DSS can assist in various phases of planning and management processes. Some general requirements of DSS for IRBM can be identified which should be considered in DSS development. DSS can be described as socio‐technical instruments and “communication vehicles” because of their multiple roles in participation processes.

Practical implications

The paper illustrates different elicitation techniques used to specify what users require of DSS. Furthermore, it describes some essential requirements for DSS development such as the main added value, key functionalities and factors for successful implementation.


The described results are based on my own studies and elicitations which have been conducted in the course of the past two years.



Evers, M. (2008), "An analysis of the requirements for DSS on integrated river basin management", Management of Environmental Quality, Vol. 19 No. 1, pp. 37-53.

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