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A Participatory Approach for Adapting River Basins to Climate Change

Mediterranean Regional Office, European Forest Institute, St. Antoni M. Claret 167, 08025 Barcelona, Spain
Centre for Ecological Research and Forestry Applications, 08193 Cerdanyola del Vallès, Spain
Prospex bvba, Vlugestal 6, B-3140 Keerbergen, Belgium
Energy, Environment and Water Research Center, The Cyprus Institute, 20 Konstantinou Kavafi Street, Nicosia 2121, Cyprus
National Research Institute of Rural Engineering, Water and Forests, Rue Hedi Karray, Ariana 2080, Tunisia
Soil Geography and Landscape Group, Wageningen University, Droevendaalsesteeg 3, 6708 PB Wageningen, The Netherlands
Institute for Water of the Republic of Slovenia, Dunajska cesta 156, SI-1121 Ljubljana, Slovenia
Faculty of Civil and Geodetic Engineering, University of Ljubljana, Jamova 2, SI-1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Water 2017, 9(12), 958;
Received: 16 June 2017 / Revised: 1 December 2017 / Accepted: 5 December 2017 / Published: 8 December 2017
PDF [1170 KB, uploaded 8 December 2017]


Climate change is expected to reduce water availability in the Mediterranean region and water management needs to adapt to future conditions. The aims of this study were (1) to develop a participatory approach for identifying and evaluating management options for river basin climate adaptation and (2) to apply and evaluate the approach in four case-study river basins across the Mediterranean. As part of the approach, a diverse group of stakeholders joined a series of workshops and consultations in four river basins located in Cyprus, Slovenia, Spain and Tunisia. In each river basin, stakeholders expressed their views on challenges in their river basins, as well as options to tackle these challenges. We used the information on challenges, as well as the factors contributing to these challenges to develop a fuzzy cognitive map for each basin. These maps were converted into mathematical models and were used to assess the impact of a total of 102 suggested management options for the four river basins. We linked the options and their estimated impacts with a multi-criteria analysis to identify the most preferred options. The approach was positively evaluated by the participating stakeholders and allowed the link of stakeholders’ knowledge and perceptions about their river basin with their preferences for options to adapt the management of their river basins to future conditions. View Full-Text
Keywords: adaptation; fuzzy cognitive mapping; climate change; multi-criteria analysis; participation; river basin; water management adaptation; fuzzy cognitive mapping; climate change; multi-criteria analysis; participation; river basin; water management

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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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Verkerk, P.J.; Sánchez, A.; Libbrecht, S.; Broekman, A.; Bruggeman, A.; Daly-Hassen, H.; Giannakis, E.; Jebari, S.; Kok, K.; Krivograd Klemenčič, A.; Magjar, M.; Martinez de Arano, I.; Robert, N.; Smolar-Žvanut, N.; Varela, E.; Zoumides, C. A Participatory Approach for Adapting River Basins to Climate Change. Water 2017, 9, 958.

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