Evaluation of decision support tools
|Main authors:||R.K. Laursen, F. Bondgaard, P. Schipper, K. Verloop, L. Tendler, R. Cassidy, L. Farrow, D. Doody, F. A. Nicholson, J. R. Williams, I. Wright, J. Rowbottom, I. A. Leitão, A. Ferreira, B. Hasler, M. Glavan, A. Jamsek, N. Surdyk, J. van Vliet, P. Leendertse, M. Hoogendoorn and L. Jackson-Blake.|
|Source document:||R.K. Laursen et al. (2019) Evaluation of Decision Supports Tools. FAIRWAY Project Deliverable 5.2 216 pp|
The contents of this section of FAIRWAYiS are also summarised in a FAIRWAY Research Highlights leaflet
In »Survey and review of existing decision support tools we conducted a comprehensive review and a survey which Decision Support Tools (DST) are currently used in the different case study sites. Out of 36 DST identified to be of higher relevance, 12 were selected for further investigation. The DSTs vary according to scale (field, farm, catchment, regional), pollutants (nutrients, pesticides) and integration of mitigation measures. A cross-country testing of DST revealed, if already existing tools could be used in other European sites or whether inspiration could be drawn from DST used in other case studies.
The FAIRWAY case study sites all face different challenges; therefore, the respective DST matching to scale, pollutant, etc. were tested accordingly.
»Selecting DSTs for evaluation
Results of the evaluations indicate that exchange of DSTs between countries is challenging due to various barriers to use (e.g. different legislation, input data requirements and regional differences in precipitation, soil types). Therefore, most countries already have comparable DSTs designed to address similar problems. During the evaluations, all case studies found inspiration and ideas from other countries’ DSTs which they would consider implementing in their own area. However, they preferred to adopt ideas and either enhance existing or develop new region-specific DSTs, rather than to attempt to modify a DST developed for another country.
For further details have a look at »DST evaluation results and discussion
A model DST that is acceptable to the majority of end users should fulfil most of the criteria summarised in Figure 1.
A DST that fulfils these criteria and can deliver a range of functions is more likely to be successful, as end users prefer to limit the number of DSTs that they need to use. Additionally, good advisory assistance is important. The DST is only as good as the input data, and therefore support and advice from well-educated and communicative, skilful advisors are highly valuable for the end user to make the right decisions.
In a next step a »Decision-support framework for advice, training and communication strategies will be developed to highlight the ways in which DSTs can be applied successfully to establish and improve awareness of diffuse pollution of vulnerable drinking water resources among farmers and other stakeholders.