Multi-criterion Decision Analysis - An Introduction Thematic Paper 7.1

This document provides an overview of multi-criterion decision analysis as part of water resources planning


Water resources planning involves the selection and ranking of the most appropriate scenarios for the future management of available water resources. Effective prioritisation should not be based solely on one or two key criteria like water resource implications and economic performance. Social, environmental, institutional, management and financial criteria will be other important factors influencing the choice, especially for the political and other non-technical stakeholders involved in the decisions. Multi-criterion decision analysis (MCDA) provides an effective structure and mechanism for this selection process.

This document covers the following topics:

  • importance of transparency
  • screening, ranking, thresholds and dominance
  • methods of Multi-criterion Decision Analysis
  • uncertainty and incomplete information
  • the weighted-average model
  • how the model can be used for prioritising investments
  • international experience with MCDA
  • appendices: blank forms for value trees and scoring rules


WRDMAP. Multi-criterion Decision Analysis - An Introduction [Thematic Paper 7.1]. WRDMAP, China (2010) 20 pp

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