Online Course on Decision Support Systems in River Basin Management

This online course is focusing on decision support methods (modelling, optimisation, multi criteria analysis) and their encapsulation in systems for application in river basin planning and management.

Apply now for


For whom?

The course is designed for young and mid-level professionals who are involved in decision making processes in river basins at different levels, or those who are developing modelling and information systems support for managing water resources in river basins. Participants who want to develop competencies in these fields can also apply for the course.

Dates, Fee, ECTS

Start: 18 September 2017
End: 11 December 2017
Deadline IHE application: 03 September 2017 - 23.59 (CET)
Course fee: € 850

Start: 17 September 2018
End: 07 December 2018
Deadline IHE application: 03 September 2017 - 23.59 (CET)
Course fee: € 900

Course structure

The total study load is 140 hours distributed over 10 weeks (average study load of about 14 hours per week) and is equivalent to full-time study of 3 weeks.

Course content 

River Basin Management

Introduction to the concept of RBM; Guiding principles in RBM; relations between the natural, socioeconomic and administrative systems; functions and users; Challenges: integration across functions, upstream-downstream integration, trade-offs; Nature of  RBM complexity requiring decision support

Decision support: structuring decision making problems and solution techniques

Introduction to decision making processes; Formulation of objectives and alternatives; Hierarchical structuring of objectives; Formulation of alternatives in terms of control (decision) variables; Introduction to simulation, optimisation and multi-criteria analyses as techniques used in decision support

Modelling simulations as tools for decision support in RBM

Modelling paradigms: physically-based modelling, data-driven modelling-agent-based modelling; Types of modelling used for RBM: river basin modelling; catchment modelling; river and flood Modelling; water quality and ecological modelling; socioeconomic modelling; Special focus on River Basin Modelling; Computer exercises with River Basin Modelling Software

Optimisation techniques for decision support in RBM

Introduction to optimisation; Classical optimisation (calculus-based); Single-objective and multi-objective optimisation; Linear Programming; Dynamic Programming; Formulation of typical water resources problems as optimisation problems; Exercises with optimisation software packages

Multi-Criteria Analyses (MCA) techniques and their role in decision support for RBM

The need for MCA; Definition of MCA problems; Solution methods – compensatory and non-compensatory; Decision matrix and its use; Multiple Attributes Decision Methods (MADM); Computer exercises with DSS software that implements MCA

Structure and types of DSSs for RBM

Introduction to DSS as computer-based tools; Structure of a generic DSS; Types of DSSs; Examples of developed DSSs and case studies