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Implementing the EU Water Framework Directive: Prospects for Sustainable Water Planning in Sweden
Karlstad University, Faculty of Technology and Science, Department of Energy, Environmental and Building Technology.
Karlstad University, Faculty of Social and Life Sciences, Department of Politics and History.
2008 (English)In: European Environment, ISSN 0961-0405, E-ISSN 1099-0976, Vol. 18, no 6, 327-344 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Implementation of the EU Water Framework Directive will significantly affect the way in which water issues in Europe are managed. Here, a set of criteria for processes for sustainable river basin planning is used as a basis for analysing how the responsible planners in one EU member state – Sweden – carry out the work prescribed by the WFD. The paper is based on 13 interviews with water planners and directors. The current processes represent progress in relation to the situation pertaining before implementation; e.g., participation and collaboration are increasingly becoming pivotal, knowledge of the natural water state is increasing and the economy of water is emerging as a new and important issue. The interviews do however show 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. The Swedish case may provide useful insights for other member states. Copyright © 2008 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd and ERP Environment.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2008. Vol. 18, no 6, 327-344 p.
National Category
Energy Systems
Research subject
Environmental and Energy Systems
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-2714DOI: 10.1002/eet.489OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kau-2714DiVA: diva2:25230
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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Hedelin, BeatriceLindh, Magnus

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