IAHS2022-271, updated on 23 Sep 2022
IAHS-AISH Scientific Assembly 2022
© Author(s) 2022. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Sustainability Assessment: The role of Indicator-based Frameworks in Sustainable Water Management

Mojtaba Shafiei1, Shervan Gharari2, Mohammad Gharesifard3, Mohammad Ghoreishi4, and Cyndi V. Castro5
Mojtaba Shafiei et al.
  • 1Hydroinformatics Department, East Water and Environmental Research Institute (EWERI), Mashhad, Iran. (moj.shafiei@gmail.com)
  • 2Centre for Hydrology, University of Saskatchewan, Canmore, Alberta, Canada.
  • 3Eurocities, Brussels, Belgium.
  • 4School of Environment and Sustainability, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Canada.
  • 5Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, IL, USA.

The concept of sustainability in water management remains an amorphous notion. Despite its widespread use, there is not a shared and accepted definition of the concept of sustainability in water management, including its monitoring and assessment, particularly at river basin scale. Sustainability Assessment (SA) can be defined as any process that aims at planning and direct decision-making toward sustainable development. An interdisciplinary approach for understanding, measuring and monitoring sustainability of water management practices includes the holistic development of Indicator-Based Assessment (IBA) frameworks as policy/decision support tools. The IBA refers to the positive, negative, and neutral qualifications of an indicator based on the comparison between its observed evolution (and/or status), and the desired evolution set for the indicator by means of a frame of reference. Therefore, developing IBA frameworks help to synthesize information and monitor changes in water management systems.

Recently, developing indicator-based assessment frameworks and constructing indexes have evolved significantly toward monitoring the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs). However, there are limited studies on developing sustainability indexes or indicator-based sustainability assessment frameworks at the river basin scale for complex issues of water management. The aim of this work is to provide a review of i) the concept of SA in water management and also ii) the methodology of indicator-based framework development. Finally, a case study of developing an indicator-based sustainability assessment framework is presented for the Mashhad River basin in Iran.

How to cite: Shafiei, M., Gharari, S., Gharesifard, M., Ghoreishi, M., and V. Castro, C.: Sustainability Assessment: The role of Indicator-based Frameworks in Sustainable Water Management, IAHS-AISH Scientific Assembly 2022, Montpellier, France, 29 May–3 Jun 2022, IAHS2022-271, https://doi.org/10.5194/iahs2022-271, 2022.