C8.1 Information management systems
‘Information management systems (IMS)’ is the term for a range of electronic systems that arrange, store and exchange data and information. These electronic systems replace more traditional printed catalogues. Two types of IMS, of particular importance to IWRM, are bibliographic information (and knowledge) systems (C8.1) and geographic information systems (C1.3). Bibliographic information systems are often located within government agencies and commercial companies, and typically include:
A Geographical Information System (GIS) is an inventory of natural resources (soil, landform, water and vegetation) of an area of the earth’s surface. It brings together data and information for decision makers for water planning and management judgements. A GIS allows a user to see and locate patterns of settlement, land use and natural resources in a water catchment, and identify relationships within the data. It can also show land systems, settlement features, best management options, land ownership and planning zones, demographic information and other socio-economic data. With visualisation technology, GIS can allow the user to create 3-D images of a water catchment, ‘fly over’ these images and view the landscape from different angles, to view changes in land use or environmental conditions over time. A further use of GIS is to geo-reference research and government reports, and to track progress in the implementation of an IWRM Strategy (see also C1.3).
The effectiveness of a water IMS can be measured by:
Knowledge of the social system of a particular setting is vital before designing an IMS. Information is needed on the social structures, gender issues, stage of economic development, human and technological resources and managerial capacities of water resources managers.