Applying Bayesian belief networks (BBNs) with stakeholders to explore and codesign options for water resource interventions

Chakaphon Singto*, Luuk Fleskens, Jeroen Vos, Claire Quinn

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Bayesian Belief networks (BBNs) are a useful tool to account for uncertainty and can be used to incorporate stakeholder understandings of how a system works. In this study, BBNs were applied to elicit and discuss local stakeholders’ concerns in conflicts over water resource planning in two cases in southern Thailand. One concerned the construction of a dam proposed by a top-down project. The other concerned a bottom-up participatory process at the catchment scale to assess the need for water resources interventions and explore perceptions on alternative design options. In the top-down project, the responses of participants during the elaboration of the BBN showed that potentially affected stakeholders were particularly concerned about limited consultation and lack of shared benefits, which led them to oppose the dam project. In the bottom-up project, local stakeholders expected and agreed with the benefits of a dam, proposing to locate the dam upstream of community land. The BBN method did not facilitate dialogue in the top-down dam-building project because no alternative design options could be discussed and potentially affected stakeholders did not want to discuss compensation because of mistrust and differences in valuation of effects. In the bottom-up project, the BBN method did facilitate dialogue on alternative intervention options and their effects. The replicable BBN framework can support policy-makers to better understand water conflict situations in different stages of planning. Its application supports exploring a wider repertoire of options, enlarging the scope for more inclusive and sustainable solutions to water resource conflicts.

Original languageEnglish
Article number23
JournalSustainable Water Resources Management
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2020


  • Bayesian belief network
  • Conflicts
  • Policymakers
  • Stakeholder involvement
  • Water resources planning


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