Information, systems and water management : Information systems which support water management - cases from rural water supply in Uganda and WFD implementation in the North Baltic River Basin District, Sweden

Abstract: Successfulwater management implies tackling multi-level governance and improvingintegration between sectors. Sound information and related processes will berequired to support water management decision-making at these various levels.Additionally, considering Principle 10 of the UN’s Agenda 21, actors shouldhave access to information to enable their involvement in shaping watermanagement outcomes. This thesis draws on the results of two separate caseswhere information systems support action: (i) rural water supply in Uganda;and, (ii) water management according to the Water Framework Directive in Sweden.A research approach was formed based on: (a) a model conceptualising how informationsystems support organisational processes which lead to action; and, (b) asystems-thinking methodology. The results reveal that there are numerous,similar challenges to achieving information support for action in both theUgandan and Swedish cases. In both cases, information quantity and quality islimited; consequentially, the use of information to support action is inhibited.Furthermore, not all actors are involved in information system processes; in particular,local-level actors. Overall, there is limited support of strategic decision-makingand weak support of operational, or local, decision-making. The results suggestthat it might be possible to tailor strategic-level information processes tolocal needs, hopefully encouraging active involvement of local actors. Improvedinvolvement, together with a suitable systems approach, could be used to furtherdevelop information systems, improving integration between multiple levels ofgovernance and across sectors – suiting not just the needs ofstrategic decision-making but also the needs of operational, or local,decision-making.