Objective 1: Identify Spatial Variables That Influence the Cost of Building Various Water Transport Networks
A GIS model is only as good as its inputs, making the collection of relevant variables a critical step in the model-building process. The variables chosen for this analysis cumulatively and exhaustively determine the cost associated with the installment of various water transport networks through the study site.
Roadways are commonly used as routes for utility networks due to the fact that it reduces the need for unnecessarily disturbing land surfaces and limits the cost of pipeline monitoring and maintenance (Abbas et al. 2017). The downfall of transporting goods along/adjacent to roadways is that it may not be the shortest physical distance between source and destination, increasing the upfront cost of infrastructure and the cost of transportation over time. This drawback is usually still not enough to sway developers away from constructing utilities along roadways, hence why most utility networks can be found along roads.
In order for the model to accurately identify the most efficient way to distribute water to all of the necessary points, it must address areas that require the largest volumes of water and currently cannot meet these requirements due to well contamination (Burnett, 2005). Due to limited information on the exact locations of these critical areas, well records within the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change will be used as proxy locations for water demand. This assumes that where water was once needed, where wells were constructed, it is still needed. This data layer will be overlain with a layer of public roadways to identify which sections of road have the largest demand for water.
Figure 2: The distribution of the 1304 wells throughout the Six Nations of The Grand River community. These well locations are used as a proxy to determine which locations require water.
Cost Per Unit Length
To determine the cost of a proposed water distribution network, a cost per unit length must be determined. This amount can vary wildly depending on the situation as it is derived from a wide range of variables, including: geological features, slope and current land use (Wilkerson et al., 2013). Since these parameters do not have a predetermined cost per unit associated with them, it typically requires professional consulting to establish the effects they have on construction costs. Fortunately, Six Nations Band Chief, Ava Hill, has publicly stated that the cost to connect all homes to the water treatment plant would cost approximately $120 million (The Hamilton Spectator, 2014). This cost estimate inherently includes all of the previously discussed factors affecting the cost per meter. Instead of risking having an inaccurate cost per unit length, we will use this statement as well as the total length the roads layer to caluculate the cost per unit length of pipeline installed. The total length of the roads layer is 702 kilometers, therefore if it will cost $120,000,000 to build 702 kilometers of pipeline, each meter of pipeline will cost approximetely $171. It is important that a professionally calculated cost estimate is being used, which includes all of the important factors, rather than a cost that is assembled by using multiple sources of literature gathered from several examples in other locations since cost per unit length is a site-specific variable.
Nobody knows more about a community than the people who live there. Consulting with the residents of the community is a crucial, and sometimes overlooked, step in the process of developing infrastructure. Gathering public knowledge and input can be the difference between a successful and failed development. When developing a model, this input can be translated into variables that may significantly alter its output. The information gained from these discussions may be regarding topics of past infrastructure, cultural areas or unobserved natural phenomena. This step is especially important when dealing with communities such as First Nations, which are rich with heritage and culture (Notzke, 1995). This variable will not be considered due to the limited scope of this project, but it is important to acknowledge its value when conducting a project such as this.