Bayesian networks as a decision support tool for rural water supply and sanitation sector
Tutor / directorPérez Foguet, Agustí
Document typeMaster thesis
Rights accessOpen Access
Despite the efforts made towards the Millennium Development Goals targets during the last decade, still millions of people across the world lack of improved access to water supply or basic sanitation. The increasing complexity of the context in which these services are delivered is not properly captured by the conventional approaches that pursue to assess water, sanitation and hygiene (WaSH) interventions. Instead, a holistic framework is required to integrate the wide range of aspects which are influencing sustainable and equitable provision of safe water and sanitation, especially to those in vulnerable situations. In this context, the WaSH Poverty Index (WaSH-PI) was adopted, as a multi-dimensional policy tool that tackles the links between access to basic services and the socio-economic drivers of poverty. Nevertheless, this approach does not fully describe the increasing interdependency of the reality. For this reason, appropriate Decision Support Systems (DSS) are required to i) inform about the results achieved in past and current interventions, and to ii) determine expected impacts of future initiatives, particularly taking into account envisaged investments to reach the targets set by the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This would provide decision-makers with adequate information to define strategies and actions that are efficient, effective, and sustainable. This master thesis explores the use of object-oriented Bayesian networks (ooBn) as a powerful instrument to support project planning and monitoring, as well as targeting and prioritization. Based on WaSH-PI theoretical framework, a simple ooBn model has been developed and applied to reflect the main issues that determine access to safe water, sanitation and hygiene. A case study is presented in Kenya, where the Government launched in 2008 a national program aimed to increase the access to improved water, sanitation and hygiene in 22 of the 47 existing districts. Main impacts resulted from this initiative are assessed and compared against the initial situation. This research concludes that the proposed approach is able to accommodate the conditions at different scales, at the same time that reflects the complexities of WaSH-related issues. Additionally, this DSS represents an effective management tool to support decisionmakers to formulate informed choices between alternative actions.
DegreeMÀSTER UNIVERSITARI EN ENGINYERIA AMBIENTAL (Pla 2014)