4 Decision analysis interviews

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Decision Analysis Interviews in the Collaborative Management of a
Large Regulated Water Course
Mika Marttunen1 and Raimo P. Hämäläinen2
1
Finnish Environment Institute
P.O.Box 140, FIN-00251 Helsinki, FINLAND
E-mail: [email protected]*
2
Helsinki University of Technology
Systems Analysis Laboratory
P.O. Box 1100, FIN-02015 HUT, Finland
E-mail: [email protected]
Corresponding author: Tel. +358-9-40300516, fax +358-9-40300590
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Abstract
There are always conflicting goals in the management of large water courses.
However, by involving stakeholders actively in the planning and decision-making
processes it is possible to work together towards commonly acceptable solutions. In
this article, we describe how we used interactive multi-criteria decision analysis
(MCDA) in a collaborative process which aimed at an ecologically, socially and
economically sustainable water course regulation policy. The stakeholders' opinions
about the regulation policy options and the relative importance of their impacts were
elicited by the HIPRE software. Altogether 20 personal interactive decision analysis
interviews, DAIs, were carried out. Our experiences suggest that DAIs can greatly
improve the quality and efficiency of the collaborative planning process. In order to
gain the full benefits of the MCDA approach, the interactive use of the methods is
vital. It is also essential to tightly integrate the approach into the planning and
decision-making process. The project's homepages are publicly available at
http://www.paijanne.hut.fi/.
Key words: Multi-criteria decision analysis, decision analysis interview method,
public participation, conflict management, stakeholder values, lake regulation,
sustainable management
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1 Introduction
The management of natural resources is nowadays a very challenging and
multifaceted task. Modern societies are more diverse, environmentally conscious, and
the number of stakeholders is greater than a few decades ago (see e.g. Renn and
others 1995, Senecah 2004). New legislation and directives, for instance, the EU
Water Framework Directive (2000/60/EU), set more demanding requirements for
environmental planning.
Different participatory approaches have been used in several hundreds of
environmental planning and management projects, particularly in Europe and North
America. The lessons learned provide valuable information and insights for planners
and managers (see e.g. Chess and Purcell 1999, Duram and Brown 1999, Susskind
and others 1999, Wondolleck and Yaffee 2000, Beierle and Cayford 2002, Connick
and Innes 2003,).
Stakeholder based planning has proved to be a key to a good and successful public
involvement process. Due to the positive experiences, stakeholder processes are being
developed beyond the traditional format of public hearings and meetings into methods
that involve relatively small groups of people in intensive and collaborative processes
(Beierle 2002). Typically, these have an active involvement of stakeholders that work
together to identify problems, define objectives, share information, and where
possible, develop collectively acceptable solutions which can not be solved
individually (see e.g. Wondolleck and Yaffee 2000, Daniels and Walker 2001,
Nandalal and Simonovic 2003). The underlying philosophy is to explicitly take into
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account emotions and social factors because these have a crucial systemic impact on
the process (see e.g. Fisher and Shapiro 2005).
The understanding of the ecological and social impacts of water course management
together with the planning tools have also improved considerably. As a result, we
nowadays have many mathematical modelling techniques, decision support tools and
GIS applications available (see e.g. Hämäläinen and others 2001, Hämäläinen 2004,
Nandalal and Simonovic 2003, Mysiak and others 2005, Mustajoki and others 2006).
In complex environmental management problems it is typical to have a large amount
of impact information and limited ability of decision-makers to absorb and process it.
Multi-criteria decision analysis (MCDA) provides a way to manage this extensive
amount of information and diversity of opinions in environmental planning processes.
The MCDA approach has been explored and applied in several water resource
planning and management projects (see e.g. Marttunen and Hämäläinen 1995, Keeney
and others 1996, McDaniels and others 1999, Keeney and McDaniels 1999,
Hämäläinen and others 2001, Bana e Costa and others 2004, Hostmann and others
2005, Marttunen and Suomalainen 2005).
MCDA methods help to improve the quality of decisions involving multiple criteria
by making the communication and choices more transparent, explicit, rational and
efficient. MCDA is also a tool to enhance individual learning and to support group
decisions by eliciting, understanding and managing the stakeholders' values and
objectives (Gregory and Keeney 1994, Hobbs and Meier 2000, vonWinterfeldt 2001,
Belton and Stewart 2002). So far, there are only few reported cases where MCDA
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tools have been used in a truly interactive way and linked tightly with a real decisionmaking process (Hämäläinen 1991, Marttunen and Hämäläinen 1995, Gregory and
Failing 2002, Ananda and Herath 2003, Marttunen and Suomalainen 2005). Our first
experiences from decision analysis interviews with real decision-makers date back to
the mid 80's related to a nuclear power plant license decision in the Parliament of
Finland (Hämäläinen 1988, 1991).
There are recent studies where stakeholders have been satisfied with the use of
MCDA methods (Hostmann 2005). On the other hand, in some other cases
participants have had problems in understanding the MCDA procedures (Corner and
Buchanan 1997, Pykäläinen and others 1999, Bell and others. 2001, Sinkko and others
2004, Bojórquez-Tapia and others 2005). Our results show that by carrying out value
tree analysis individually and interactively, it is possible to overcome many problems
related to weight elicitation, and to improve the participants' understanding and
acceptability of the method.
This article describes how we applied the decision analysis interview (DAI) method in
the collaborative planning process which aimed to develop a sustainable regulation
policy for a large regulated watercourse. The study had several objectives related both
to the development of the method and to the achievement of the goals set for the
collaborative process. The article is structured in a following way. First, we present
our case study, the Lake Päijänne regulation development project. Second, we
describe why and how the DAI process was undertaken. Third, we synthesize the
results of the interviews. Fourth, we analyze how the DAI method supported the
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group decision-making and the consensus finding process. Finally, we draw
conclusions about the use of the DAI method.
2 The Lake Päijänne regulation development project
Lake Päijänne is the second largest lake in Finland with a surface area of 1 100 square
kilometers. The lake has an extensive recreational housing development along its
shores and there are tens of thousands of recreational users and recreational
fishermen. The River Kymijoki with a length of 120 kilometers originates from Lake
Päijänne and flows into the Gulf of Finland. The river has twelve power plants which
generate about ten percent of the hydropower in Finland. The fields along the banks
of the river are particularly prone to flooding.
The lake regulation started in 1964 (Table 1). Initially, the primary goals were to
increase hydro power production and to decrease flood damage both along the lake
and the river. Since the beginning of the regulation, the recreational use of the water
course has increased dramatically. Recreational users of the water course have also
become much more aware of the environmental effects of the regulation. The most
important concern has recently been the negative impact of the regulation on the
aquatic ecosystem and the inappropriate water levels of the lake for recreational use
during late spring.
Already in the mid 1990s, there was a wide consensus about the need to find
opportunities to modernize the regulation policy. Provincial federations, fisheries
organizations as well as the holder of the regulation license, the Ministry of Forestry
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and Agriculture, considered this important. As a result, a large and multi-disciplinary
development project was carried out during the years 1995-1999 to re-evaluate the
regulation policy of the water course. The project’s aim was to collect new
information for decision-making by assessing and synthesizing the ecological,
economic and social impacts of water level fluctuations, and to develop
recommendations which would reconcile different and partly conflicting interests of
water course users.
In the beginning of the project, there was a strong mistrust especially among the
fisheries organizations towards the project and the administrative bodies responsible
for it. These included the National Board of Waters and Environment which later
became the Finnish Environment Institute, and the Ministry of Agriculture and
Forestry, which was the license holder of the regulation at that time. In order to gain
public support for the project and to improve opportunities for finding a commonly
acceptable new regulation policy, we felt that a systems intelligent (SI) approach
(Saarinen and Hämäläinen 2004) was clearly needed and therefore an open and
participatory planning process was launched. In the SI approach one acknowledges
the fact that we, in this case the project and stakeholders in the steering group, are
always in a systemic relationship where the process in which interaction is carried out
has an essential impact on the outcome. The requirement for the co-operative
consensus seeking process is, in fact, also stated in the Finnish Water Act. However,
in the project much more attention was paid to stakeholder involvement and public
participation than the Act would require.
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Postal questionnaires, workshops, public hearings and working groups were among
the means to learn the opinions and listen to the local people. There were more than
50 working group meetings and more than 100 different people participated in them.
In order to collect opinions from the general public, a postal questionnaire was sent to
over 2 000 property owners. The most important forum for the stakeholder
involvement was the steering group which comprised eighteen representatives. Both
public authorities and different interest groups were included (Table 2). The role of
the steering group was to discuss and approve the annual working plans of the
project. However, the most crucial task was to develop recommendations which
would be approved by all the stakeholders involved.
In addition to the DAI method, the work of the steering group was supported by
mathematical models used to simulate the lake and river hydrology (Hämäläinen and
Mäntysaari 2001). The methods were applied complementarily and each of them had
their own role in the planning process. In this article, we focus on the results and
experiences of the DA interviews (Figure 1).
3 Phases of the process
The process was built on an environmental impact assessment (EIA) approach with
two new features. First, there was continuous stakeholder involvement and public
participation. This is different from the old EIA tradition where people are heard in
the beginning and at
the end of the process. Second, participation was tightly
integrated into the planning process, and planning and participation were developed in
parallel in a closely interconnected way. This reflects our vision that the recognition
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of the systemic nature of participation processes is of crucial importance. A process
oriented SI approach helps to change the mental models of the stakeholders from
conflict management to collaborative consensus seeking.
The process consisted of four main tasks: 1) Framing the problem, 2) Assessing the
impacts of the old regulation, 3) Generation and comparison of the regulation options,
and 4) Development of recommendations and follow-up measures. The first three
tasks were run partly in parallel. Public involvement was important in each task.
3.1 Framing of the problem
The scope of the project and the needs for further data collection were determined in
the working groups. We created preliminary regulation options and identified
attributes which were used to assess the impacts. The attributes were organized
hierarchically in a value tree. The project covered the entire water course affected by
the regulation, including both Lake Päijänne and the outflowing River Kymijoki. In
addition to the revision of the lake regulation policy, the group also decided to
consider different non-hydrological mitigation measures.
3.2 Assessing the impacts of the old regulation
The project comprised eighteen subprojects which generated an extensive amount of
information on the ecological, social and economic attributes. Field studies, various
ecological models and expert judgments were used in the impact assessment phase.
Numerical estimates of the impacts were given whenever possible. Furthermore, the
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studies identified constraints for planning i.e. non-acceptable water levels and flow
rates for various uses of the water course.
3.3 Generation and comparison of options
An evolutionary three-step approach was developed in order to find feasible
regulation options. First, each representative of the steering group was interviewed
with the DAI method. In the interviews, the data acquired in the environmental impact
analysis was combined with the subjective preferences of each participant to evaluate
the overall subjective value of each option. The practical implementation and the
results of the DAIs are described in sections 4 and 5.
In the second step, the consensus finding process was put to the test as the aim was to
find generally acceptable objectives in the steering group for regulation policy under
the different water scenarios. First, the results of the DA interviews were analysed and
discussed in the steering group. These discussions improved the participants'
understanding of the other stakeholders' opinions, and also helped to understand the
diversity of the opinions. This phase also showed that without a comprehensive
analysis which includes all relevant impacts and objectives it was not possible to find
a commonly acceptable solution. The first target water levels and flows for Lake
Päijänne and the River Kymijoki over the year were determined based on these
general objectives.
In the third step, a hydrological simulation model was run for the period 1971-1995 in
order to study how well the target levels could be achieved during dry, normal and
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wet hydrological conditions and what kind of ecological, social and economic
consequences there would be. The results of each simulation were carefully analysed
and targets for water levels and flows were refined if the outcome was not acceptable.
The main problem in the development of a feasible regulation policy was to find a
balanced strategy which would not cause big losses in hydro power or large increases
in flood risks.
3.4 Recommendations and follow-up
The most important and challenging task was the composition of a commonly
acceptable set of recommendations for the future regulation policy. The analysis of
the impacts and the increased awareness of the hydrological dynamics related to the
water course regulation provided a very good basis for that. It turned out that the
opportunities to diminish the adverse impacts of regulation on the aquatic ecosystem
and recreational use were fairly limited. Therefore, we looked for other mitigation
measures that could be used. We introduced recommendations about fish stock
management, habitat restorations of the shorelines of the lake and rapids in the River
Kymijoki and informing of the public. The total number of final recommendations
was 31, fifteen of which considered the regulation practice, five dealt with fish stock
management, four the restoration of habitats, five the improvements of
communication, and two the follow-up of the implementation of the water course
regulation and the recommendations.
4 Decision analysis interviews
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4.1 Objectives and their achievement
We had several objectives with the introduction of the DAIs. The most important one
was to support the participatory consensus-seeking process by empowering the
participants to personally compare regulation options with respect to both intangible
and incommensurable impacts. This allowed the stakeholders to evaluate their own
priorities and values in this context with the real data. The three main issues addressed
were:

Which impacts are perceived to be the most important ones?

Which are the most preferred and the most disliked components in the
regulation strategies?

What are the important differences in the opinions between the stakeholders?
Furthermore, we had the methodological objective of learning how to avoid
behavioral biases (see e.g. Pöyhönen and Hämäläinen 2000, Hämäläinen and Alaja
2003) by a suitable structuring of the problem and description of the impact data.
The interviews were preceded by an extensive preparation and testing phase. During
this the objectives and attributes were selected, the value tree was structured, the
impacts of the regulation options were assessed, and the weighting technique was
chosen. Once the preparations were completed the personal and interactive interviews
were started. By working individually with each participant, the analyst could ensure
that all the issues were clear and no misunderstandings remained (Marttunen and
Hämäläinen 1995, Hämäläinen and others 2001). The total number of interviews was
twenty and they lasted from three to six hours. The interactive value tree analyses
were done with the HIPRE3+ software (www.hipre.hut.fi, Hämäläinen and Lauri
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1992), the predessor of the WEB-HIPRE software (Mustajoki and others 2004) used
in some of the expert group meetings.
The structuring of the value tree and the planning of interviews were done in close
cooperation with the decision analysis research group in the Systems Analysis
Laboratory. For example, there was a separate study on the risks of behavioral
weighting biases and on the possible ways to avoid it. We focused particularly on the
splitting bias, and how it can be eliminated or reduced by instruction and training
(Pöyhönen and Hämäläinen 2000, Hämäläinen and Alaja 2003). Additionally, some
preliminary test interviews with a group of people consisting of representatives of the
local stakeholders and experts were carried out. Our focus in those preliminary
interviews was to ensure that the value tree was adequate and the attributes and the
description of the ecological, social and economic impacts were easy to understand.
4.2 Structure of the value tree
There are always alternative ways to structure a value tree. We wanted to use a
common tree for the analysis of ecological, economic and social aspects for the whole
group to facilitate communication of all aspects of the problem. As the structure may
have an essential impact on the outcome, we analyzed several value tree options and
assessed their applicability before the interviews. The following questions were
addressed in particular:

How to take into account the fact that hydrological conditions as well as the
impacts of lake regulation are very different during the wet and dry years?
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
How to structure the value tree so that the weight elicitation will be easy and
the risks of biases are low?

How to structure the value tree so that it would best facilitate the consensus
finding process?

How to describe and combine the impacts in the lake and in the river?
The impacts of the regulation depend on the overall water conditions. For instance, in
a wet year, due to flood risks the regulation lowers the highest water levels in Lake
Päijänne and the highest outflows in the River Kymijoki. On the other hand, during a
dry summer, the lowest water levels are raised in Lake Päijänne. In the interviews,
one of our aims was to explicitly discuss the consequences of different hydrological
conditions. Therefore, the analysis was performed separately for normal, dry and wet
water conditions. If this had not been done, the comparison of the impacts of different
options would not have been meaningful. Clarity of the analysis was considered to be
very important in order to improve the participants' overall understanding of the
regulation problem, and to create a basis for the improved communication in the
collaborative process.
Two alternative approaches were identified for the structuring of the value tree. The
first one was a water course focused value tree in which Lake Päijänne and the River
Kymijoki were considered separately in different branches (value tree 1, Figure 2).
The structure of the first value tree reflected the way many local people saw the
problem. They considered the impacts on Lake Päijänne and the River Kymijoki
separately. In the second approach (value tree 2, Figure 2), the impacts related to the
lake and the river were aggregated. This tree reflected the views of the water
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authorities who were responsible for the operative implementation of the regulation.
In their integrative perspective, there was no difference, for instance, in what part of
the water course flood damages occurred. Only the total amount of damages counted.
We chose to work with value tree 2 because we wanted to avoid the risk that the
structure of the value tree would have become a source of confrontation between
stakeholders living around the lake and those along the river. The final value tree is
shown in Figure 3.
4.3 Attributes and options
A water course regulation has far reaching and multifaceted impacts. To keep the
analysis tractable, there was a need to focus only on the most important impacts.
Furthermore, the value tree needed to be such that it would be easy to make trade-offs
between the economic, social and environmental attributes with a minimal risk of
weighting biases (Pöyhönen and Hämäläinen 2000, Hämäläinen and Alaja 2003). The
attributes used and their indicators are described in Table 3.
Flood damage to houses, agriculture and industry were considered separately. The
attribute industry was divided into three subattributes: hydro power production,
timber-floating, and the water supply of one paper mill in the lower reach of the River
Kymijoki. Commercial recreational activities included rafting and fishing.
Recreational use included a number of factors: the usability of the shoreline and piers
at summer cottages, swimming on public beaches, usability of harbours, and
conditions for boating as well as for recreational fishing. Additionally, the
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attractiveness of the landscape was included in the recreational attribute. The attribute
for recreational use was a monetized measure of the decrease of the usability caused
by the deviation of the shoreline from the optimum zone. This zone was defined as the
minimum and maximum water levels between which there was no harm to the
different uses of the shore.
The impacts of the regulation on the ecosystems of the lake and river are quite
different. Hence, there were separate attributes for Lake Päijänne and for the River
Kymijoki. Extensive field research carried out in Lake Päijänne during the project
allowed the use of direct indicators. However, in the River Kymijoki we needed to use
proxies, such as flow data on given seasonal dates which were correlated with the
ecological impacts. The flow parameters were based on the known or assumed effects
on hydrological conditions and river biology (Hellsten and others 2002)
In Lake Päijänne, the main impacts were on the zoning of shallow water vegetation,
reproduction of northern pike and whitefish, and the nesting of black-throated diver.
The studies undertaken in the project showed that the old lake regulation has adverse
impacts on all of these species. It was assumed that the harm to fish stocks was
adequately compensated by existing fish stockings. However, the attribute
"reproduction of fish” was included because the successful natural reproduction is
important for many people. In the River Kymijoki, the main ecological attributes were
the reproduction of salmonid fish, zoobenthos in the rapids, and shallow water
vegetation. These impacts were estimated from seasonal flow rates.
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We developed three different regulation options for the interviews and they were
called Recreational, Ecological and HydroFlood. The old regulation policy was used
as a reference in the measurement of the impacts. In the Recreational option the water
level of Lake Päijänne was kept as stable as possible over the whole year. In the
Ecological option water levels were managed in such a way that the harmful
ecological impacts were minimized. This option resembled the original natural water
level fluctuations. In the HydroFlood option the primary objectives were the
maximization of hydro power generation and minimization of flood risks. These
options were thought to cover the range of possibilities and thus they provided a good
basis for discussion in the steering group. These initial options were somewhat
exaggerated and they were not feasible as such.
4.4 Performance of options and attribute weighting
In the interviews the same value tree was applied for the normal, dry and wet water
year . The analyst described the impacts of various regulation options and the impacts
of the options were discussed. The participants had an opportunity to change these
ratings if they thought that the ratings did not match their views. This opportunity led
to differences particularly in the ranking of the options with regard to recreational use.
Some participants emphasized the importance of spring water levels as they have
caused widest dissatisfaction among the users. For them the best option with respect
to recreational use was the Ecological option. On the other hand, many participants
thought that water levels during summer are most important as the number of active
recreational users is high and also because the summer period is longer than the spring
period. In their ranking the Recreational option was the best one.
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After analyzing and refining the ratings, the relative weights of the attributes were
elicited. We used the SWING procedure (von Winterfeld and Edwards 1986) where
the most important attribute is given 100 points and the other attributes are given
lower points reflecting their relative importance from the viewpoint of the participant
(Table 4). The last phase of the interviews was the evaluation of the results. Following
the interviews and analysis of the results, a steering group meeting was arranged
where all the preference models of stakeholders were analyzed and the differences
were discussed in collaboration with the stakeholders.
5 Results of the decision analysis interviews
The value tree interviews produced a large amount of information. Since the data was
in a structured format it was easy to use in the further analysis. However, there were
many ways to do the analysis. We tried to present the results so that this would
support the learning and consensus seeking process in the steering group. We
illustrated the differences and similarities in the stakeholders' opinions by presenting
both the individual weights for each stakeholder as well as the average weights for
each stakeholder group. We also identified common interests or shared modes of
thinking by grouping the participants' opinions into three categories.
There were several reasons why we did not calculate the average preferences of all the
participants. We wanted to emphasize the subjectivity of the preferences and show
that there were variations in the weights even between people belonging to the same
stakeholder group. In the analysis of large data sets, one is often tempted to aggregate
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data by taking averages. Using average weights distorts the information. For example,
if one stakeholder group has assigned a very high weight (0.7) and another a very low
weight (0.1) to an attribute, the average of these two weights (0.4) would not
represent the opinion of either stakeholder group. One important reason for not using
the averages was that, in the steering group, different stakeholder groups were not
represented in a balanced way. There were six representatives of fisheries and only
one representative of agriculture. Taking an average of the individual weights would
have meant that the opinions of the representatives of fisheries would have been six
times more important than the opinions of the representative of agriculture (see Table
2). The Ministry of Forestry and Agriculture had been responsible for the nomination
of the steering group. Several representatives from the fisheries organizations were
invited as they were recognized to be key stakeholders having both power and
familiarity with the problem. In the past they also had been very active proponents of
development of the old regulation policy.
The stakeholders perceived the importance of ecological, social and economic
impacts in very different ways. For instance, in the case of a normal water year the
weights given to the attribute aquatic ecosystem varied from 0.1 to 0.65 (Figure 4).
The lowest weights were given by representatives of the power companies, agriculture
and the permit holder of the regulation license. Differences in the attribute weights
between the stakeholder groups and even within one stakeholder group were also
considerable.
We divided the stakeholders into three groups based on the weights given to the
attributes for the normal water year (Table 5). There were big differences in the
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attribute weights of different groups (Figure 6). However, the attribute weights
between different groups had similar trends. In each group, the wetter the water
conditions were in the spring, the higher weights were given to flood prevention and
hydro power generation (Figure 7). In the wet spring the weight of these objectives
were about two times higher than in the dry spring. These results suggested that the
strongest disagreements were associated with the normal and slightly wet springs.
The differences in the priority scores of the regulation options were considerably
smaller than the variation in the attribute weights (Figure 5). In a normal water year,
the Ecological option was the most preferred one for most of the stakeholders. This
can be explained by the fact that the objectives of the attributes in terms of water
levels and flows were somewhat aligned. For instance, in the wet water year hydro
power, flood prevention and recreation all have the same objective: to decrease the
highest water levels and flows. Hence, different combinations of these attribute
weights resulted in almost the same overall priority scores for the options.
The results of the DAIs were discussed in the steering group. The most important
objectives for the development of a new regulation strategy were identified under
different water scenarios based on these discussions (Table 6). Furthermore, these
prioritizations were used to set targets for water levels and flows over the year. The
development of sustainable regulation policy was a laborious process as described in
section 3.3. Many options were developed and analysed before a balanced strategy
was found. A hydrological simulation model was applied to get a good understanding
of the impacts in different hydrological conditions.
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6 Discussion
6.1 The DAI method
The DAIs were tightly integrated into the planning procedure and into the work of the
steering group. The interviews were carried out when most of the impact assessment
studies were completed as we wanted to efficiently utilize and process the results of
the field studies and other surveys. We paid special attention to the process and the
timing of the DAIs. We thought that it was important to foster the participants'
learning before starting the discussions about new regulation policy options.
The feedback questionnaire and discussions in the steering group suggested that the
method improved the stakeholders' understanding of the problem in several ways. It
provided a systematic framework for analysis and discussions. The method
encouraged stakeholders to study their own values and preferences and helped them to
understand the key trade-offs. Moreover, they learned a lot about the objectives and
preferences of the other stakeholders'. Thus, the DAIs enabled the participants to
consider the situation from a broader perspective.
In our complex case it was especially important that all the stakeholders started to
share the need to consider the impacts in the whole water course. A common value
tree was successfully established even though the stakeholders' concerns were very
different. We believe that the careful development of the value tree and the
consideration of the different water conditions greatly increased the stakeholders'
learning.
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Before participating in this process it was common that people criticized the existing
lake regulation policy either from the perspective of Lake Päijänne or from that of the
River Kymijoki only. It was also usual to take into account only very few impacts.
Many stakeholders said that, after the interviews, they no longer had an anchoring to
their previous rigid opinions because of the wider understanding and trust generated
by the process. Naturally, this is a precondition for reaching a compromise solution.
On the other hand, there is also a risk that participants anchor the results of the
MCDA analysis. This phenomenon was not recognized in our case. We believe that
this was due to the DAIs being undertaken in the middle of the four years project and
with preliminary options. Consequently, there was sufficient time for discussion and
reflection after the DAIs.
The personal DAIs were a good learning process also for the analyst himself helping
him to understand the problem as a system consisting of people with different
opinions, interconnections, and preferences. Furthermore, it helped him to clearly
understand the thinking and needs of the stakeholders. It was obviously not enough to
focus on the environmental, social and economic data only. Thus, the DAIs helped the
analyst to bear in mind different viewpoints and to include them when the proposals
for regulation recommendations were developed. The interviews were also helpful for
the analyst in getting familiar with the participants and building trust in the steering
group. This can be the most important factor contributing to the success of the whole
project. For similar conclusions see e.g. McDaniels and Trousdale (1999). When the
project manager also works as the analyst he or she must be able to remain and refrain
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from showing personal opinions regarding the importance of the impacts of the
options. Otherwise the trustworthiness of the process can be lost.
6.2 The influence of the DAIs on the outcome of the project
The participants evaluated the role of the DAIs very positively. The questionnaire
showed that almost all, 86 %, of those participants who answered (n=13) agreed fully
or almost fully that the interviews improved their overall picture of the problem.
There
was also almost unanimous agreement that the HIPRE analysis helped
stakeholders to express their own values and preferences (93 % of the participants).
The method was also considered simple and transparent. People understood well both
the method and the results presented by the HIPRE software (93 % of the
participants). From the participant's points of view a great advantage of the interviews
was that it gave an equal opportunity to express his/her opinions to each
representative of the steering group. The careful discussions during the DAIs and
instant feedback of model results were also considered very important.
Our observations in the steering group supported these positive findings. However,
reaching a consensus on commonly accepted regulation policy in the steering group
was not easy. It required intense discussions during which some representatives
emphasized the importance of the DAIs as a way of softening their strong stands and
opening opportunities for compromises. These opinions supported our own
observations that the DAIs improved the stakeholders' ability to understand better the
problem and to see the situation through the eyes of the other stakeholders, too.
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In Finland the Environmental court confirms all revisions in the existing regulation
license. In this case the court received only one objection regarding the proposed
revision of the regulation policy. This is quite exceptional and a very good result as
water course regulation projects typically are very controversial. The Environment
court process generally lasts a long time. It took five years before the final approval
was given from the Supreme Administrative Court. No changes to the proposed
regulation scheme were made during the court process. This suggests that the
collaboration process accommodated well the different interests.
The successful outcome was the consequence of several positive elements in the
planning process supporting participation, social learning and building of trust. Here
the DAIs were in important role. The decision-making was based on a comprehensive
set of data due to the exhaustive impact assessments. The trust toward the neutrality
of the project was confirmed among local stakeholders during the project due to its
openness. The long and interactive process helped the participants to give up narrow
and single-minded goals, and it also supported the participants' commitment to the
joint problem solving. They recognized that there are possibilities for joint gains in
the development of the lake regulation. Our experiences suggest that the quality of the
planning process had an essential influence on how acceptable the outcome is from
the stakeholders' point of view. After the collaborative process they were willing to
accept the outcome which did not meet all their hopes.
7 Conclusions
24
In this article we have presented a collaborative and structured approach for
developing a sustainable regulation policy to a large water course. The decision
analysis interview method, as described in this paper, is an efficient tool in
collaborative planning processes. In our case, the aim of the DAIs was to create and
support a joint consensus-seeking process for finding a good ecologically and socially
feasible regulation policy. The interviews generated structured information about the
stakeholders' values and preferences. This information was later used when the
objectives in the different water conditions were prioritized. This allowed us to
develop a balanced regulation policy which fulfilled these objectives.
Our experience suggests that the DAI method can support and improve the quality
and efficiency of participation by enhancing the integration of the stakeholders' values
into the planning process, facilitating discussions, improving transparency and aiding
learning. In our case, all these factors strengthened the stakeholders' commitment to
the whole process. The DAIs also improved the stakeholders' ability to understand the
problem better and helped to see the situation through the eyes of the other
stakeholders. The DAI method lets every participant have a voice and involves them
explicitly. It was probable that this produced the positive systemic effects on the
stakeholder group as a whole. They understood the problem as a complex whole with
physical, environmental, social and emotional elements, as well as their own role in it.
Thus the method represented a systems intelligence approach to participation (see
Saarinen and Hämäläinen 2004). We believe that it is important for the environmental
management community at large to learn to design and implement such interaction
processes.
25
Our results show that by carrying out value tree analysis individually and interactively
it is possible to overcome many problems related to weight elicitation, and to improve
the participants' understanding and the acceptability of the method. The interactive
approach enabled the analyst to ensure that attribute weights given by stakeholder
were in accordance with his/her real opinions lowering the risk of biases (Hämäläinen
and Alaja 2003). The opportunity to evaluate and analyze the outcome immediately
fostered learning and made the analysis more interesting for the stakeholders. It also
improved the participant's satisfaction and trust toward the method. Stakeholders do
not trust processes where they have limited or no chance to analyze how their inputs
affect the subsequent results.
In many environmental management projects, public involvement, planning and
decision-making have remained separate processes and therefore data and knowledge
gathered during the projects have not been utilized efficiently enough. We believe that
the DAI method is a very useful tool in order to facilitate information exchange
between experts and stakeholders, and to narrow the gap between participatory and
planning processes. We also think that in complex environmental projects the steering
groups are ideal forums for applying the method. The steering group has a great need
for support in its task to systematically structure and process large amounts of
information and stakeholder values. The participants are often also committed and
highly motivated to use new methods in order to clarify their own values and
preferences and to assess how these can affect the desirability of different options.
Today we still lack experts and consultants in the field of water resources
management who can professionally use MCDA methods. The publication of
26
successful real-life applications and learning experiences are needed to promote the
use of these methods in practice. The interactive implementation of the MCDA
approach is fairly laborious and demanding. Therefore, we strongly emphazise that
the users of the MCDA methods and experts of these methods should work in close
co-operation. Collaboration with an MCDA expert is always valuable for the project
manager for continuously improving and developing his skills.
The following conclusions summarize our major findings:

The full potential of the MCDA methods has thus far not yet been recognized
sufficiently among the researchers and practitioners of environmental
management and public participation.

Computer aided interactive and iterative use of the MCDA methods is
recommended to enhance the learning and the commitment of the participants
as well as to overcome problems related to weight elicitation.

The MCDA approach needs to be integrated early into the planning and
decision making process to allow the related learning to have an impact on the
process.

The MCDA approach helps all the parties involved including the project
manager to see the systemic dimensions of the problems and to locate their
own role in it which helps to facilitate the collaboration.
27
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34
LIST OF FIGURES
Figure 1. The role of decision analysis interviews in the regulation development
project.
Figure 2. Two main options to compile a value tree for regulation development
project.
Figure 3. Value tree used in the decision analysis interviews.
Figure 4. The weights given by various stakeholders on the nature attribute.
Figure 5. The weights of the "ECO"-alternative in the normal water year.
Figure 6. The average weights for main attributes in the different groups (normal
water year).
Figure 7. The proportion of the weights for the hydro power and flood protection
attributes in various water years.
35
Public participation
EXPRESSED
NEEDS AND
OBJECTIVES
Impact assessment
COLLABORATIVE
LEARNING
PROCESS
CONSENSUS
SOLUTION
VALUE TREE ANALYSIS
Methods supporting
multi-objective decision making
Figure 1.
36
VALUE TREE I
LAKE
PÄIJÄNNE
ATTRIBUTES
ALTERNATIVES
GOAL
RIVER
KYMIJOKI
ATTRIBUTES
VALUE TREE II
ATTRIBUTE 1
LAKE
PÄIJÄNNE
ALTERNATIVES
GOAL
ATTRIBUTE 2
RIVER
KYMIJOKI
ATTRIBUTE 3
Figure 2.
37
Figure 3.
38
E2
E1
E3
C
E2
C
R
U
6
5
4
3
2
1
E1
C
SH
R
U
AT
N
AT
N
VI
N
O
PR
VI
N
O
PR
VI
N
O
PR
FI
SH
FI
SH
FI
SH
FI
SH
FI
SH
W
ER
FI
PO
R
I
R
BE
M
AG
5
R
AT
E
4
3
R
AT
E
R
2
R
AT
E
AT
E
1
R
AT
E
TI
W
W
W
W
W
AF
M
M
N
C
E2
N
C
E3
N
AT
U
R
E1
N
AT
U
R
E2
VI
PR
O
H
6
H
5
H
4
H
3
H
2
H
1
N
C
E1
VI
PR
O
VI
PR
O
FI
S
FI
S
FI
S
FI
S
FI
S
FI
S
ER
R
R
I
BE
W
PO
TI
M
AG
ER
5
ER
4
AT
W
AT
W
ER
3
ER
2
AT
W
AF
ER
1
AT
W
AT
W
Weight
0,7
0,6
0,5
0,4
0,3
0,2
0,1
0
Figure 4.
0,9
0,8
0,7
0,6
0,5
0,4
0,3
0,2
0,1
0
Figure 5.
39
0,45
GROUP1
GROUP2
0,4
GROUP3
0,35
0,3
Weigth
0,25
0,2
0,15
0,1
0,05
0
FLOOD DAMAGE
INDUSTRY
ENTERPREUNERIAL
ACTIVITY
RECREATIONAL USE
AQUATIC
ENVINRONMENT
Figure 6.
80
GROUP1
70
GROUP2
GROUP3
Proportion of total weight (%)
60
50
40
30
20
10
0
DRY SPRING
NORMAL SPRING
WET SPRING
40
Figure 7.
41
TABLES
Table 1. The milestones of Lake Päijänne regulation.
Time
Event
1910-1950
The planning of the lake regulation starts. Several alternative regulation
schemes were considered.
1956
The permit for Lake Päijänne regulation was confessed.
1964
The regulation of Lake Päijänne started.
1970-1980’s
There were diverging opinions concerning the compensation of the losses for
fisheries and relatively strong disagreements between regional water authorities
regarding regulation policy during flood events.
1994
Revision of the Finnish Water Act enabled the revision of old regulation
policies having significant adverse impacts on aquatic ecosystem or its use.
1994-1995
Permit holder of the regulation license, Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry,
started a development project to find out possibilities to improve the regulation
policy. Fisheries organizations made an initiative that new rules of the Water
Act should be applied in that project.
1995-1998
18 subprojects to assess the ecological, social and economic impacts of the
regulation were undertaken.
1997
20 members of the steering group were interviewed with the help of HIPRE
model.
1999
Over 30 recommendations to mitigate the harmful impacts of regulation were
formulated and accepted unanimously in the project's steering group.
2001
Based on these recommendations Regional Environment Agency of South
Eastern Finland submitted an application to the Water Court in order to revise
the regulation license.
42
2002
Water Court made a decision where the application was accepted without any
major changes. All in all five appeals against the decision of Water Court. Most
of them considered compensation of fish stocks and hydro power losses. There
were one appeal toward the proposed new regulation policy.
2004
Court of Appeal made a decision which did not change the proposal for the new
regulation policy. The obligation of monitoring the harmful impacts of
regulation was added. Due to the appeals the process was taken to the Supreme
Court of Finland.
2006
Supreme Court of Finland gave its decision. The appeals of hydro power
companies were rejected. The new regulation policy was put into action.
Table 2. The list of the organizations represented in the steering group.
Organization
Abbreviation
Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (1 representative)
MAF
Water management authorities: Regional Environment WATER1-5
Centres of Central Finland, South-Eastern Finland, Birka
land (5 representatives )
Provincial federations of Central Finland, South-Eastern PROVINCE1-3
Finland, Päijät-Häme (3 representatives)
Timber Floating Association (1 representative)
TIMBER
Hydro power companies: Regulation Committee of Lake POWER
Päijänne (1 representative)
The Central Union of Agricultural Producers and Forest AGRI
Owners (1 representative)
43
Fisheries
authorities:
Development Centre of
Employment
and
Economic FISH1-2
Häme and Central Finland (2
representatives)
Recreational fishermen association (1 representative)
FISH3
Local fisheries organization: North and South Päijänne FISH4-5
fisheries areas (2 representatives)
Päijänne Nature Centre (1 representative)
NATURE1
The environmental protection authority of Heinola town (1 NATURE1-2
representative)
44
Table 3. The attributes and their minimum and maximum values in different water
conditions.
1 Flood
1a Agriculture: Damage (€)
1b Building and other structures: Damage (€)
Criterion Dry spring (min/max) Normal year (min/max)
Wet spring (min/max)
1a
0/0
0/70 000
0/200 000
1b
0/0
0/220 000
0/126 000
2 Industry
2a Hydro power: Difference in value of electricity produced compared to non-regulated
status (1000 €)
2b Timber floating: Number of days when the flow is inappropriately high (days)
2c: Water supply: Number of days when the flow is less than the critical level of Sunila
paper mill (days)
Criterion Dry spring (min/max) Normal year (min/max)
Wet spring (min/max)
2a
100 /1 250
2 120 / 3 430
-200 /630
2b
51/51
0/31
0/0
2c
0/0
0/20
0/0
3 Entrepreneurial activity
3a Professional fishing: Winter draw-down (m)
3b Rafting: Number of days when the flow is inappropriately low (days)
Criterion Dry spring (min/max) Normal year (min/max)
Wet spring (min/max)
3a
0.08/0.50
0.15/0.42
0.26/0.58
30/30
3b
102/142
0/41
4 Recreational use
4a Lake Päijänne: Negative impacts caused by changes in water level (1000 €)
4b River Kymijoki: Negative impacts caused by changes in water level (1000 €)
Criterion Dry spring (min/max) Normal year (min/max)
Wet spring (min/max)
4a
150 /300
235 /420
400 /780
4b
140
/ 265
140 /220
210 /230
5 Aquatic environment
5a Lake Päijänne
5aa Macrophytes: Area of dense reed vegetation (km2)
5ab Fish: Reproduction of pike, number of recruits compared non-regulated status (%)
5ac Birds: Percentage of nests of black-throat diver damaged by a raising water level (%)
5b River Kymijoki
5ba Macrophytes (area): Difference between max. and min. flows during growing season
compared to non-regulated status (%)
5bb Zoobenthos (species richness): Minimum flow during the growing season compared
to non-regulated status (%)
5bc Salmonids (reproduction): Decrease in the flow during the egg hatching time
compared to non-regulated status (m3/s)
Criterion Dry spring (min/max) Normal year (min/max)
Wet spring (min/max)
5aa
-/21/30
-/5ab
55/87
26/48
83/122
5ac
100/100
99/55
0/51
45
5ba
5bb
5bc
-/-/81/112
53/113
79/95
0/425
-/-/34/94
46
Table 4. Example of the information about the impacts and weight elicitation procedure
presented in the material which was sent to the stakeholders before the interviews.
Maximum value
Minimum value
Range of impact
Agriculture, damage
(€/year)
70 000
0
70 000
Buildings, damage (€/year)
130 000
0
130 000
Question: In which criterion the range of impact is more significant?
Give 100 scores to criterion which you evaluate more important.
Assess the importance of less significant criterion by giving scores between 0-99. 50
means that the importance of the criterion is half of the more important criterion.
If you consider that the impact ranges of both attributes are of equal importance, then
give score 100 to both criteria.
Your score
Agriculture
Eg. 40
Buildings
Eg. 100
47
Table 5. The division of stakeholders into three cluters based on their opinions of the
significance of the impacts in the normal water year.
Cluster 1
Cluster 2
General
Emphasis on the original
Emphasis
description of
objectives
environmental and recreational
the group
(flood prevention, hydro
of
regulation
Cluster 3
on
the Emphasis on environmental
values and hydro power
values of Lake Päijänne
power)
Opinions on
Benefits
regulation
Lake regulation has significant
Lake
the
much more important than
harmful impacts on aquatic
significant
its harmful impacts
environment and recreational
disadvantages.
impacts
of
the
of
regulation
regulation
has
both
advantages
and
use in spring. The level of
flood prevention and hydro
power
production
can
be
diminished.
Opinions on
Old regulation relatively
Ecological
was
Alleviation of harmful impacts
the regulation
good,
preferred to old regulation both
of old regulation only to level
alternatives
improvements only in the
in the normal and dry years.
which does not significantly
opportunities
to
option
dry years
reduce
the
benefits
of
regulation
Stakeholders
4
stakeholders
(permit
7 stakeholders (fisheries 4,
7
belonging to
holder of the regulation
regional authority 2, water
authority
group
license,
authority)
3, regional authority,
association,
floating
agriculture,
water authority)
stakeholders
(water
fisheries 2, nature protection
authority)
Table 6. The prioritization of objectives set for the regulation practice in different
water conditions. The most important objectives are darkest.
48
Objectives
Dry spring
Normal Spring
Wet spring
Hydro power
Flood prevention
Recreational use
Environment
Fisheries
Timber floating
49
50
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