Making asset investment decisions for wastewater systems that include sustainability

Richard Ashley, David Blackwood, David Butler, Paul Jowitt, John Davies, Heidi Smith, Daniel Gilmour, Crina Oltean-Dumbrava

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

58 Citations (Scopus)


Effective integrated water management is a key component of the World Water Vision and the way in which aspirations for water equity may be realized. Part of the vision includes the promotion of sustainability of water systems and full accountability for their interaction with other urban systems. One major problem is that "sustainability" remains an elusive concept, although those involved with the provision of urban wastewater systems now recognize that decisions involving asset investment should use the "triple bottom line" approach to society, the economy, and the environment. The Sustainable Water Industry Asset Resource Decisions project has devised a flexible and adaptable framework of decision support processes that can be used to include the principles of sustainability more effectively. Decision mapping conducted at the outset of the project has shown that only a narrow range of criteria currently influence the outcome of asset investment decisions. This paper addresses the concepts of sustainability assessment and presents two case studies that illustrate how multicriteria decision support systems can enhance the assessment of the relative sustainability of a range of options when decisions are being made about wastewater asset investment. © 2008 ASCE.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)200-209
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Environmental Engineering
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2008


  • Municipal wastes
  • Nitrogen
  • Phosphorus
  • Reactors
  • Simulation
  • Wastewater management


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