Water is involved, directly or indirectly, with many activities and needs that have to be met. The large scale and importance of water projects, the investments needed, the difficulty in predicting the results, and the irreversible character of the decisions have made decision making a complex scientific process. This paper presents a multicriteria analysis (MCA) tool for evaluating water resource management (WRM) strategies and selecting the most appropriate among them, using as an example a Greek area based on agricultural economy, which faces water scarcity problems. Seven alternative strategies were evaluated under hydrological and economic criteria. Four techniques were used—multi attribute utility theory (MAUT), analytic hierarchy process (AHP), elimination and choice expressing reality (ELECTRE), and technique for order of preference by similarity to ideal solution (TOPSIS)—based on the main MCA techniques (utility theory, analytical hierarchy, outranking theory, and classification theory, respectively), to compare their performance, and to reach the most appropriate and ‘fitting’ method for the examined problem. The weightings extracted from two samples, (i) a sample of decision makers/stakeholders and (ii) a group of WRM experts, were used to compare the results. The process was carried out for each questionnaire, and thus the model shows the uncertainty of each sample group and of each method, as well as the overall uncertainty. The results illustrate the reality of the WRM problems of the watershed, enlighten their roots, and have further strengthened our conviction that the cooperation between the scientific community and the authorities is vital for more sustainable and efficient WRM.
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