Consensus-Based Fuzzy Group Decision-Making Framework for Tailoring Good Water Governance to the Context: A Case Study of Sistan, Iran

Shahrzad Sadeghizadeh Bafandeh, Saeed Bagherzadeh, Hojjat Mianabadi*, Amineh Ghorbani

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
11 Downloads (Pure)


Although good water governance (GWG) is a widely accepted concept, mistaking its principles for silver bullet approaches has hindered its successful applications. This highlights the idea that one-size-fits-all thinking does not satisfy the need to navigate toward sustainable outcomes in ever-changing complex water systems. This also indicates that endeavors toward governing water systems must be tailored to the specific context that these systems are nested within. Scholars have pointed out the importance of residents' input in contextualizing water governance practices. With that being said, this paper proposes an innovative approach to tailoring principles of GWG to the context by building an analytical framework upon which survey research was conducted. The survey, it took input from three categories of residents, namely experts, authorities, and experienced locals. Analyzing the data led to a group decision-making problem that was approached using fuzzy risk-based multiple-attribute decision-making methods, including technique for order of preference by similarity to ideal solution and ordered weighted averaging, while considering the amount of consensus among mentioned groups. Furthermore, to validate the results of the decision-making problem analysis, additional interviews were conducted to get a more pragmatic picture of the situation. Sistan Delta in Iran was selected as a case study mainly due to the current undesirable situation and also the international social, political, and environmental significance of the area. This study aims to take the first step of rethinking water governance in the area. The results indicated that to operationalize good governance, the principles of collaboration, legitimacy, adaptability, and trust and engagement must be prior considerations to redefine the water governance structure in the Sistan region.

Original languageEnglish
Article number04022047
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Water Resources Planning and Management
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 2022

Bibliographical note

Green Open Access added to TU Delft Institutional Repository 'You share, we take care!' - Taverne project
Otherwise as indicated in the copyright section: the publisher is the copyright holder of this work and the author uses the Dutch legislation to make this work public.


  • Contextualization
  • Good water governance (GWG)
  • Risk-based group decision making
  • Sistan delta


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