Sustainable Management of Water Resources

Sustainable Management of Water Resources

An Integrated Approach

The Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei series on Economics, the Environment and Sustainable Development

Edited by Carlo Giupponi, Anthony J. Jakeman, Derek Karssenberg and Matt P. Hare

Experts across a wide range of specialist fields including social sciences, informatics, ecology and hydrology are brought together in this truly multidisciplinary approach to water management. They provide the reader with integrated insights into water resource management practices that underpin the three pillars of sustainable development – environment, economics and society – through a series of international case studies and theoretical frameworks.

Chapter 7: Participation for Sustainable Water Management

Erik Mostert

Subjects: economics and finance, environmental economics, environment, environmental economics, management natural resources, water


Erik Mostert 7.1 INTRODUCTION Numerous international declarations mention public participation as essential for integrated water resources management. Probably the best known is the Dublin Statement, second principle, which reads, ‘water development and management should be based on a participatory approach, involving users, planners and policy-makers at all levels’ (Dublin Statement, 1992). In addition, many international conventions and regulations contain public participation requirements, such as the Aarhus Convention on Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision-making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters and the EU Water Framework Directive (EC, 2000; Ebbesson, 1998; REC, 1999; Kakebeeke and Bouman, 2000; UN-ECE, 2000; Drafting Group, 2002). Despite this official recognition, there is no consensus on the practical meaning of public participation. While some see public participation as a means of empowering people and enhancing democracy, others see it mainly as a marketing tool for the water managers. Still others are simply against public participation. Not surprisingly, the public participation requirements of many international declarations and conventions are not implemented (for example, REC, 1998). This chapter provides a short introduction to public participation in water management. It discusses the concept and the different types of public participation, the goals of public participation and the cultural context. It also discusses participatory research and social learning. In addition, the organisation of participatory processes and water users’ associations are discussed in detail, as well as public participation in large international river basins, the European Water Framework Directive and the level at which to organise public participation. The...

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