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Criteria for the Assessment of Sustainable Water Management
Karlstad University, Faculty of Technology and Science.
2007 (English)In: Environmental Management, ISSN 0364-152X, E-ISSN 1432-1009, Vol. 39, no 2, 151-163 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Pressure on the world’s water resources is increasing, restraining social and economic development in many countries, and threatening ecological values in others. In order to manage water resources in a more sustainable manner, new planning methodologies/processes for river basin management need to be developed. This study attempts to construct a set of useable normative criteria for the analysis and evaluation of such processes. The criteria were designed as a response to the lack of deductive approaches in the evaluation of methodologies and working procedures used in the context of river basin management, making it possible to highlight their potential for sustainable development. The criteria are based on the twin concepts of participation and integration. These concepts function as well-established dimensions of both sustainable development and sustainable river basin management, and they are of significant methodological relevance. A synthesis of the key aspects connected to the two concepts is undertaken, based on a broad literature review. Focus is laid on how in methodological terms, and in relation to regional water management, to achieve participation and integration in a decision-making or planning process. The criteria are concerned with how knowledge and values are integrated into the planning process and how commitment, legitimacy, or acceptance for the resulting plan is generated.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2007. Vol. 39, no 2, 151-163 p.
Keyword [en]
Sustainable development, River basin management, Criteria, Planning methodology/process, Participation, Integration
National Category
Energy Systems
Research subject
Environmental and Energy Systems
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-2707DOI: 10.1007/s00267-004-0387-0OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kau-2707DiVA: diva2:25227
Available from: 2008-09-23 Created: 2008-09-23 Last updated: 2013-03-14Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Planning for Sustainable Use of Water
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Planning for Sustainable Use of Water
2008 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other scientific)
Abstract [en]

The basic problem that this work wishes to address concerns the  unsustainable use of water resources in many places of the world. In some places, the problem leads to human suffering and death while also obstructing social and economic development. In other places, where the consequences are less severe, natural environments are seriously damaged. A significant part of the solution to this problem lies in the planning and decision-making domain. The overall aim of this thesis is therefore to contribute to the available knowledge on planning and management for the sustainable use of water resources. Planning as a process is in focus, both in itself and in the organisational and legal contexts that affect how planning processes are performed.

 

The main methodological approach used, and the theoretical contribution made here, is the deriving and discussion of a set of deductive criteria for the development and assessment of planning processes for the sustainable use of water resources (Papers III and IV). The criteria were derived using a multi-disciplinary approach, where the relevant literature on how to transform the concepts of ‘integration’ and ‘participation’ – both key principles for sustainable development in relation to planning – into an analytical framework of twelve criteria, was reviewed and synthesised. The derived criteria concern issues such as, how to integrate knowledge and values into the planning process and how to generate commitment, legitimacy or acceptance for the resulting plan, by democratic means. The criteria are then used to assess the EU Water Framework Directive (WFD) – an extensive legal framework which will steer water planning in the EU Member States for several decades to come – and to assess the planning processes that follows on from WFD implementation in Sweden.

 

The analysis contained in (Paper V) showed that the WFD erects few formal barriers to good planning practices. The analysis also showed however, that the planning processes that follow on from its implementation will need to be adapted to compensate for the weak legal support in a number of important areas, namely, the use of knowledge from beyond the natural sciences, the use of methodologies for the explicit handling of values and the use of procedures for democratic participation. Several recommendations are also made in respect of how the WFD could be supplemented in order for it to become a stronger support in planning processes for the sustainable use of water.

 

The analysis of the ongoing water planning processes in Sweden (Paper VI) showed that knowledge of how to work with values and how to create forms and methods of participation and collaboration remain clearly underdeveloped. In consequence, the main objectives behind participation – the provision of knowledge and perspectives for the process and the creation of legitimacy, acceptance or engagement – are actually at risk. Recommendations include complementing the existing knowledge base with insights from the social sciences and the humanities, to create well informed learning systems within the new water administration and to make use of alternative methods for the handling of values.

 

In addition to this, two papers from the thesis (Papers I and II) concern the situation pertaining before WFD implementation in Sweden. By comparing the system for municipal land and water planning (the former main system for long-term water planning in Sweden) with WFD prescriptions, and with the organisation of the new water administration bodies, some potential implications of WFD implementation were identified. From here it followed, that the development of forms of co-operation between the concerned administrative organisations, and in respect of the democratic involvement of the public and other concerned actors, were crucial in creating an integrative, effective and democratic system for water planning in Sweden.

 

The thesis also illustrates the use of a tentative model for the operationalisation of ‘sustainable development’. The tentative model is described in the thesis, and it constitutes the methodological baseline for the thesis, since five of the papers contained herein use various approaches related to this model.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Karlstad: Karlstad University, 2008. 79 p.
Series
Karlstad University Studies, ISSN 1403-8099 ; 2008:37
Keyword
Sustainable development, water, planning process, criteria, Water Framework Directive (WFD), participation
National Category
Energy Systems
Research subject
Environmental and Energy Systems
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-2715 (URN)978-91-7063-197-9 (ISBN)
Public defence
2008-11-07, 9C 204, Karlstads universitet, Karlstad, 10:15 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2008-10-17 Created: 2008-09-23 Last updated: 2011-11-24Bibliographically approved

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Citation style
  • apa
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