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The Foundation for a New Water Culture: Science for a democratic water governance

Congress: 2008
Author(s): Graciela Ferrer, Francesc La Roca
Universitat de València Departament d'Economia Aplicada

Keyword(s): water governance, democracy, science for decision making, public participacion
Poster:
AbstractThe European Water Framework Directive (WFD) in force since October 2000 in the European Union establishes an ambitious process for the development and management of the water policy in EU’s member states with the general aim of assuring a sustainable and durable management of all water bodies and associated ecosystems. One of the directive’s novelties relates to the new policy making style, in which a relevant role is given to citizens through participation. The transition from the traditional technocratic model to the new participated one demands an in deep review of the role of science and technical knowledge in water management. Success in achieving the WFD’s general aim strongly depends on the building of a new water governance process, open to society. For doing it, accurate and intelligible information and knowledge around water issues needs to be available to the wide public in order to guarantee the fairness and effectiveness of participation in the policy making process. In this context, the quality of information and the ways of communication of technical and complex knowledge, in order to allow lay people to take positions and actions, are two central topics. In this paper we analyse the experience of the Foundation for a New Water Culture (FNCA) in Spain (created in 2000), whose leit motiv is in line with the spirit and the letter of the WFD. We propose to draw conclusions regarding the relationship between the exchange of technical and non-technical information and knowledge on water issues and citizen empowerment for defending environmental values related to aquatic ecosystems, and its impact on the implementation of the WFD in Spain. For getting such lessons, we analyse the role played by the FNCA in three issues: the Ebro’s transfer (1998-2004), the Júcar-Vinalopó water transfer (2002-2007) and the observatory on the implementation of the WFD in Spain (2006-2007).
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