Proportion of basin population affected by dam.
Number and type of political boundaries in a river basin may affect dialogue, cooperation, or conflict.
Strong laws may mitigate the impacts of change; existing basin agreements and associated river-basin
organizations may help reduce vulnerability throughout the basin.
Openness and transparency of decision-making processes affect management capacity.
Cooperation during planning, construction, operation, and management phases leads to the establish-
ment or strengthening of institutional arrangements and affects relations among relevant administrative
Cooperation during planning, construction, and operation, and management phases leads to the estab-
lishment or strengthening of institutional arrangements and affects relations among relevant adminis-
trative areas at the international scale.
Dam construction results in costs or benefits for individuals and communities outside the immediate
area of the dam (other counties, municipalities, provinces, countries).
Source : Adapted from Tullos et al. 2010.
This modeling effort represents several steps forward in the effort to improve complex,
multicriteria decision making about dams. First, in line with the WCD's call for more com-
prehensive options assessment, it allows users to assess the effects of dams more holist-
ically on biophysical, socioeconomic, and geopolitical systems and to see how the bene-
fits and costs of a given dam project are distributed across these three systems. Second,
it combines objective, scientific analysis on the magnitude of impacts with the subjective
salience assigned by stakeholders to those impacts, making the decision-making process
more equitable and transparent and allowing users to understand how and why different
stakeholders might value different outcomes. In various simulation activities, we have dis-
covered that different groups of users—government officials, hydropower corporation ex-
ecutives, and NGO representatives, to name a few—can view the exact same set of mag-
nitude scores and yet assign wholly different salience values to the data that they see. Fin-
ally, the IDAM allows stakeholders to make explicit comparisons between different hy-
drodevelopment scenarios. Users can compare different watersheds, different dam designs,