Essay: Inter stage integrated management


The city of Dammam in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is among the driest places on the planet with high temperatures where the conservation of potable water is a very challenging task. The effectiveness of a management approach in potable water conservation can be achieved with the implementation of the inter-stage integrated management approach. The study focuses on determining the viability of the integrated management in ensuring the adequate supply of potable water in urban settings such as the city of Dammam in KSA. Examining the concept of the aforementioned management approach requires a close examination of a geographical region where integrated management for potable water conservation is lacking.

Background Statement

The chosen topic for this study is about the application of inter-stage integrated management as an approach for potable water conservation process by examining the case of the city of Dammam in Saudi Arabia. Having been situated in one of the driest and temperate
regions on the planet, the City of Dammam in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia faces a monumental problem in ensuring the continuous supply of potable water throughout the year (Hanware, 2012). In this context, urban planning in Dammam takes careful consideration on the process and management of available water sources for conservation. Urban planning is essentially, the key into achieving potable water sustainability in which the principles of inter-stage and integrated management approach will be applied. Water is a renewable resource, but the problem of availability encompasses the dilemma in conservation and demand management considering immense pressure due to the increase in urban population (Al-Saud et al., 2011). The importance of this study is the imperativeness of applying an effective approach in the conservation process and addresses the problem of integration. There are several weaknesses in the country’s potable water management and conservation practices such as low water tariffs and disincentive for conservation. These weaknesses account only towards the legislative and policy aspect of the water conservation process, there are other areas in urban planning that requires effective management approach which the inter-stage integrated approach tends to provide (Abubakar, 2012). Furthermore, water is considerably the social and economic key for the future development of the city of Dammam (Al-Zubari, 2012).
Managing the conservation process in maintaining an adequate supply of water particularly in urban areas such as the city of Dammam requires addressing the areas of climatic and demographic changes in the region that creates further stress in water management. Considering that urban planning in the City of Dammam requires a sustainable source of water supply through conservation, the traditional and fragmented approach appears as no longer effective and a more holistic approach to management and conservation process is becoming essential (Badescu et al., 2010). This is also the rationale for choosing the inter-stage integrated management as a viable approach in examining the case of the city of Dammam. The inter-stage integrated management is an emerging approach that encompasses a clear path towards sustainability, equitable, and efficient development of conservation process in the city of Dammam in KSA. The development objectives of the chosen approach includes setting goals, assessing issues with resources, policy and strategies, planning, implementation, monitoring, and evaluation of progress. These development objectives are imperative in alleviating the barriers in resources conservation and creating opportunities in future urban development (AlRukaibi and McKinney, 2013). Given that the city of Dammam is currently in the booming stage of development, the current management practices are still inadequate in terms of integration, which this study aims to explore. In addition, the inter-stage integrated approach will be evaluated for viability in application and its capacity to address the lack of integration between the stages of potable water conservation.

Literature Review

Determining the viability of inter-stage integrated management approach in the conservation of the potable water in the city of Dammam encompasses an evaluation of the available water resources in the region including a comparative evaluation of reuse and desalination of water in the KSA. Ukayli and Husain (2009) studied the comparative results of wastewater reuse, availability, and desalination in Saudi Arabia to identify any emerging trend in the development of surface water resources (Bakir, 2001). The findings of the study suggests that the continuous development of the urban areas in KSA led to excessive withdrawal of water from aquifers and other underground sources (Ukayli and Husain, 2009). This excessive withdrawal poses a threat to the future availability of surface water particularly, potable water. The importance of the findings towards this study was drawn from the fact that excessiveness leads to the immediate depletion of available sources, thus limits the opportunity for conservation. This is when the proposed approach comes useful for future conservation developments.

This dilemma leads to the determination of the impacts that water conservation strategies have towards efficient water use. Tsai et al. (2011) presented the evidence pertaining to the impact of water conservation through the implementation of controlled experiments. The findings of the study suggest that the various conservation strategies present a favorable approach in the effective implementation of the integrated management approach towards ‘potable water conservation (Tsai et al., 2011). The evaluation of the pilot strategies in water conservation provides a concept for the implementation of the selected approach particularly when applied to the urban settings of the city if Dammam. The nature of the study conducted by Tsai et al. (2011) is similar to the findings of Al-Zahrani’s (2009) research in developing sustainable resource for agricultural and water use in KSA. The study encompasses the valuable information regarding the agricultural development plans in KSA and how water resource management plays a part in establishing sustainability (Al-Zahrani, 2009).

Although the study focuses on the agricultural sector rather than of the urban area such as the city of Dammam, the presented evidence on the sustainability aspects provides an essential clue towards the application of integrated approach in resource conservation in the urban setting. The significance of the findings from Al-Zahrani’s (2009) research in this study is the formation of sustainability approach towards conservation, which the proposed management approach tends to achieve. After examining the role of sustainability in the aspect of sustainability, the next factor attributed to integrated management approach is measuring and management of water demand in KSA particularly in the city of Dammam.
Ali Mahmoud and Adam Abdallh (2013) conducted a study about water-demand management in KSA with an objective to enhance the environment within surrounding the water resources. The findings of this research suggest that excessive demands lead to imbalances within the surrounding environment. For example, Ali Mahmoud and Adam Abdallh (2013) presented facts that are relevant in understanding the integrated approach such as outdated infrastructure, low tariffs and disincentive, and an average of 20% unaccounted distribution (Ali Mahmoud and Adam Abdallh, 2013). These factors has a direct implication towards the effective ‘conservation of potable water in developing areas of KSA such as the city of Dammam considering the growing demand for potable water caused by increase in demographic population.

One of the important aspects for discussion in this research is the definition of inter-stage integrated management approach. Warner and Davidson (2011) demonstrate the concept of integrated approach particularly in conserving potable water. The findings of the study shows that user behavior and management systems go hand in hand in the issues of potable water conservation. Technical water conservation methods, inductions, manuals, and public awareness play a crucial role in the integrated management process (Warner and Davidson, 2011). Implementing the appropriate water efficiency measures will ensure effective conservation of potable water for usage areas such as the urban settings. The concepts presented in the study by Warner and Davidson (2011) is imperative to the success of this research as it describes how integrated management approach works in preserving potable water resource in high usage areas. The concepts can be applied in studying the case of the city of Dammam in KSA.

In integrated management approach, the organization and in this case, the water bureau of the city of Dammam will use a single system to manage the entire operational strategies and process in potable water conservation. The integrated management approach combines all the components of the business for easier management. In order to implement an integrated management approach, the issues with potable water management should be first evaluated in order to create a single integrated process. Alhameid and Al-Naeem (2013) conducted a study to determine the components of the water conservation problem that the city of Dammam is experiencing with its current management approach. Conclusively, the study suggests that conservation of potable water is difficult due to the quality of the water from the source (Alhameid and Al-Naeem, 2013). The high level of salinity in the underground water causes ‘corrosion on well casings. Furthermore, the problem is even exacerbated by the fact that the management approach is inadequate in alleviating the root cause of difficulties sustaining the adequate supply of potable water (Al-Saud et al., 2011). The significance of the findings in this research is the determination of the problems that causes the current management approach to fail. In this sense, the identified problems are imperative in ensuring the effectiveness of the proposed inter-stage integrated management approach.

The same integrated management approach was applied to the study conducted by Xia (2012) where the findings suggests that the approach was able to provide useful information in terms of decision making in the allocation of the available water resources. Allocation of the available resources and the decision backup the processes initiated for such action determines the systematic approach towards conservation. For instance, if the resources are limited and the management approach governing the use of the water resources was found to be ineffective, the conservation efforts are also likely to become inadequate (Xia, 2012). The important principles drawn from Xia’s (2012) research provides an important conceptual framework in the understanding the inter-stage integrated management approach in relation to potable water conservation in the city of Dammam.

Research Problem

The study addresses the problem of lack of integration between the stages of potable water conservation process. In the process of potable water conservation, each development phase aims to implement a specific level of water conservation measures. The process lacks sustainable management approach, which lacks necessary integration among stages that can withstand the adverse impact of shifting demands and limitations in resources.

Research Questions

The research questions for this study will focus on identifying the factors affecting the effective implementation of the inter-stage integrated management approach in water conservation in the city of Dammam in KSA. In addition, the study aims to answer the following questions:

1. What are the factors hindering the effective implementation of the potable water conservation approach in the city of Dammam?

2. How the inter-stage integrated management approach would be able to create opportunities in water conservation process?

3. What are the integration phases that are relevant to the improvement of the water conservation and management of resources in the city of Dammam in KSA?

4. What are the possible development opportunities that the city can benefit from in terms of potable water conservation using the inter-stage integrated management approach?

The above-mentioned questions are imperative in determining the relevant answers
pertaining to the given objective of the study. Furthermore, the given research questions provides the direction in identifying the effectiveness of the inter-stage integrated management approach when implemented for urban planning in the city of Dammam in KSA.

Aims and Objectives

The aim of the research is to integrate the stages of potable water conservation process considering the geographical conditions of City of Dammam in Saudi Arabia. The City of Dammam is situated in the Eastern Province ‘EP’ of the KSA adjacent to the Arabian Gulf. Such geographical local provides the city with sustainable resource of desalinated water obtained from the Arabian Gulf. In addition, the city gets its water supply from non-renewable underground wells. However, the resources are not fit for consumption in its raw state unless desalinated. In spite of scarcity, there is not any effective approach to conserve potable water. Therefore, the study seeks to propose an effective management approach which becomes imperative to the success of the water conservation process.

The study has several objectives, namely:

‘ To identify the problems which the City of Dammam is experiencing in terms of
conserving potable water supply amidst the growing demand.

‘ To determine and understand the factors leading to inadequacies in potable water
management in the city.

‘ To examine the components of the inter-stage integrated approach and its potentials to
correct the deficiencies in the conservation of the potable water considering available
supply and growing demand.

‘ To identify the key processes in the proposed approach and determine its role in
increasing the availability of potable water and meeting the growing water demand in a
developing region such as the City of Dammam.

The Proposed Conceptual Framework

The proposed inter-stage integrated management approach is based on development strategies to be drawn from timeframes and milestones of the various activities within the various stages of the water conservation process. However, the proposed integrated approach acquires the legal and institutional components that concern the ecological measures for establishing a management system that delivers a long-term action. The approach is concerned with long-term planning which can be achieved. Furthermore, the integrated approach aims not only to increase the availability of the potable water resource, but also to reduce the excessive consumption of water.

The above diagram shows the stages in which the water is being conserved from the
source up to distribution. The water from the source undergoes the process of withdrawal from source (i.e. groundwater and on-land dams), which comprises the first stage of the conservation process. The water is being treated for distribution, which in the process includes the unaccounted use and wastages while the majority of the treated water is being allocated for consumptive use, this stage is where the stage two of the conservation process can be implemented. Stage three in the process of regulating water usage from, excesses volume from distribution, wastewater, and inflows are being conserved for treatment and distribution. The final stage of conserving potable water is being implemented in the manner supply control and consumption.

The above diagram follows a systematic implementation of the conservation processes in ensuring the adequacy of potable water supply while observing demand. The first stage encompasses the formulation of the necessary policies that will govern the implementation of the policies at each stage of the conservation objective. Each stage is triggered by conditions not limited to environmental, infrastructural and main line damages, and resource availability. Monitoring is essential in each stage as it determines whether or not the water situation is improving or getting critical. This also determines the conservation stage necessary for implementation on any given water situation. Each stage encompasses specific mandatory practices to ensure that the water supply is aligned with the demand priorities.

Scope of Research

The scope of the project is only limited to the city of Dammam in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. It is apparent that the research was structured to encompass a case study in which the city of Dammam is the case for study. More importantly, this study will cover the obtained data from external resources from 20 years of water conservation findings up to present. The importance of examining the historic data is to create a comparative points that will show the positive or negative implications of the concurrent management approach. If the data showed significant decline in the volume of conserved potable water, it becomes apparent that the existing approach in the conservation process is no longer effective (Xia, 2012). The same assumption can be made if the data showed that the conserve volume of water remains stagnant given the rise in demand for potable water within the metropolitan Dammam area. In this regard, the case study will focus on determining the weaknesses in the existing water conservation approach implemented in the city. In addition, evaluating the opportunities implied with the implementation of the inter-stage integrated management approach will enable the research to determine the positive benefits of the aforementioned approach.


In the field of urban planning encompassed in the past researches on the same topic, the most appropriate research methodology for this study is to use the stratigraphic information in order to understand the dispositional history of water usage in the metropolitan Dammam area. The employed method for this study is divided into two parts; the first part will utilize theoretical concepts pertaining to integrated management, while the second part will rely on qualitative and descriptive case study approach. Furthermore, this study will rely on the available information ‘from the detailed point inventory from Italconsult published in 1969 during the time when the urbanization planning of the city of Dammam is taking place (Groundwater in the Eastern Mediterranean and Western Asia, 1988). The information source will also include the GDC findings for Dammam in 1980 and the regional value measurements (Alsharhan, 2001). The information from the aforementioned surveys will be used as the comparative data points for this study where the results of the current and previous management approaches will be put in comparison with the results of applying the integrated management approach. In terms of data collection, the most reliable sources for numerical and comparative data will be obtained from previous researches on integrated management and results from water conservation studies performed within the KSA region. Lastly, the method of analyzing the collected data will be based on the variances between the comparative data derived from previous researches. These data will be compared and analyzed for any noticeable differences either positive or negative.

Research Outline

The study will be composed of a minimum of six chapters beginning with the introduction where the background information about the conservation efforts in the city will be discussed. In addition, the introduction part will tackle the literature review where the relevant researches will be examined for key information that are imperative for outlining the key concepts that will be used throughout the study. The following chapters will indicate the research problem, the research questions, and the objectives of conducting the study. The third chapter will show the methodologies employed in this research including the findings obtained from applying the selected method. The fourth chapter encompasses the discussion of the findings where the results are being interpreted in relation to the given questions and research problem. The fifth chapter will illustrate the significance of the study and its contribution to the field of ‘water resource management. In addition, the chapter will also illustrate how the findings of the study can contribute to the developments in urban planning in terms of addressing water supply and demand issues, and important recommendations for future research. The sixth chapter will stipulate the conclusion of the study.

Significance of the Study

At this point, assumptions can be made in terms of the significance of this study. One of the significant contributions of this research is the reinforcement of the new concepts in water conservation practices particularly in urban areas. Moreover, this study is relevant for the future developments in water conservation in highly critical regions of the planet where water resources although present still requires effective managing processes. The inter-stage integrated management approach presents promising future in water conservation not only for the city of Dammam in KSA, but also in other parts of the Middle Eastern Region where water is of greater importance. Managing the potable water in regions such as the city of Dammam is a significant part of the urban planning process considering the geographical and demographical changes in the area as the city’s development continues in the future, which include future concerns about demand. The findings of this study contribute to the creation of management models of urban planning that evolves around potable water supply and consumption (Stockholm International Water Institute, 2007). The inter-stage integrated approach promises greater potential for the city of Dammam in which the concept presented in the study may become the basis for creating a developmental model for the other areas in KSA.

Research Planning and Timescale

In terms of research planning and timescale, this study will follow the timeframe prescribed by the instructor. However, the stages of completing this study will be based on the timescale for three years of taking up the PhD program with the below table showing the timescale for this particular research. The data collection will begins as soon as this proposal has been submitted. Data collection includes consulting field experts and collect literatures both online and from the library. After enough literatures has been downloaded and collected, the next step in the timeline is to consolidate the date by means of eliminating the less relevant materials. Each collected literature will be reviewed for significant data, which is supposed to be done during the last two quarters of the first year in the graduate program up to the first quarter of the second year. This provides enough time to focus on further understanding the concepts related to the chosen topic. The following step is analyzing the case, interpreting the data that was collected during the first year in the program. The writing process begins during the last three quarters of the second year up to the first quarter of the third year in the graduate program. The last remaining periods in the third year of the PhD program will be spent in finalizing the dissertation. The last three quarters of the final year in the program is when the drafts will be submitted for comments and necessary revisions. After which, it will be followed by succeeding submission in which the last quarter of the third year will be dedicated in polishing and perfecting the dissertation.

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