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Water 2017, 9(3), 191; doi:10.3390/w9030191

Stakeholder Engagement and Knowledge Co-Creation in Water Planning: Can Public Participation Increase Cost-Effectiveness?

1
Department of Agroecology, Aarhus University, Blichers Allé 20, DK-8830 Tjele, Denmark
2
Department of Food and Resource Economics, University of Copenhagen, Rolighedsvej 25, DK-1870 Frederiksberg C, Denmark
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Julio Berbel, Carlos Gutiérrez-Martín, Julia Martin-Ortega and Arjen Y. Hoekstra
Received: 4 January 2017 / Revised: 21 February 2017 / Accepted: 2 March 2017 / Published: 7 March 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Water Economics and Policy)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [8279 KB, uploaded 7 March 2017]   |  

Abstract

In 2014, a radical shift took place in Danish water planning. Following years of a top-down water planning approach, 23 regional water councils were established to co-create and provide input to Danish authorities on the development of River Basin Management Plans (RBMP). The water councils advised local authorities on the application of measures to improve the physical conditions in Danish streams within a given economic frame. The paper shows the difference the use of water councils (public participation) made by comparing the final water council proposal included in the 2015 RBMP to the RBMPs proposed by the central government (Nature Agency) in 2014. The study concludes that the measures proposed by the water councils will generally deliver better results than the proposed Nature Agency plans, which do not include the same level of participation. Specifically, the water councils with stakeholder involvement proposed a much longer network of streams (3800 km), yielding a better ecological outcome than the shorter stream network (1615 km) proposed by the Nature Agency for the same budget. Having a structured and fixed institutional frame around public participation (top-down meeting bottom-up) can produce cost-effective results, but the results show that cost-effectiveness was not the only deciding factor, and that local circumstances like the practicalities of implementing the measures were also considered when developing the Programmes of Measures. The findings suggest that the use of water councils in water planning has significant advantages, including the fact that the knowledge of local conditions helps to identify efficient solutions at lower costs, which can be useful for administrators, policy-makers, and other stakeholders implementing the Water Framework Directive in years to come. View Full-Text
Keywords: collaborative water governance; Water Framework Directive; bottom-up and top-down; water councils; cost-effectiveness analysis; environmental decision-making; outcomes; stakeholder involvement collaborative water governance; Water Framework Directive; bottom-up and top-down; water councils; cost-effectiveness analysis; environmental decision-making; outcomes; stakeholder involvement
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Graversgaard, M.; Jacobsen, B.H.; Kjeldsen, C.; Dalgaard, T. Stakeholder Engagement and Knowledge Co-Creation in Water Planning: Can Public Participation Increase Cost-Effectiveness? Water 2017, 9, 191.

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