Developing Index for Sustainable Water Use with Environmental and Socioeconomic Indicators: an Application for Hydrologic Units in South Korea

Wednesday, 17 December 2014
Yeonjoo Kim and Inhye Kong, Korea Environment Institute (KEI), Seoul, South Korea
This study aimed to develop index for sustainable water use over hydrologic units in South Korea. We identified major indicators for sustainable water use with considering multiple aspects of water use: not only physical, biological and chemical aspects but also social and environmental aspects. Furthermore, stressors for sustainable water use were of major interests because they were straightforward and easy to measure in comparison to indicators representing the state- and impact-related indictors. As a result, sustainability index was constructed with a theme-based hierarchical approach. It is comprised of two components of stress and response to sustainable water use and each component includes five sub-components of human water requirements, water quality requirements, 4) h, equitable water use and others. Then for each sub-component, multiple indicators, i.e., proxy variables were identified. For drainage basins in South Korea, standard hydrologic units with their total number of about 100 across the country, total 19 indicators were identified and their data from the various sources such as remote-sensing based datasets and survey-based national datasets were collected for current times. Then they were integrated to estimate the sustainability index with a multi-criteria decision making (MCDM) approach. At last, we evaluated sustainability index with focusing on the spatial variability of indices and indicators and the sensitivity of indices to individual indicators to better understand the sustainability of water use in Korea. In addition, we derived the indices with different MCDM methods to evaluate the sensitivity of index to various mathematical techniques.