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Defining rules for model use in participatory water management

Author(s): A case study in The Netherlands
Congress: 2008
Author(s): Pieter Bots, Rianne Bijlsma, Yorck Von Korff, Nicolien Van Der Fluit, Henk Wolters
Yorck von Korff: Cemagref, Montpellier Nicolien vd Fluit: Consultant to water board Velt & Vecht, The Netherlands Henk Wolters: RIZA, The Netherlands

Keyword(s): participatory policy making, groundwater level management, hydrological models, process management, rules of the game, Natura2000
AbstractIn this paper we develop a set of 'rules of the game' for using hydrological models in participatory decision-making processes regarding ground- and surface level management in The Netherlands. The ideas we develop are informed by an empirical case study in the Vecht river catchment area in The Netherlands. By the end of 2007, the water boards in the eastern parts of the Netherlands should have defined a 'balanced ground- and surface water regime' (GGOR in Dutch) for the water systems under their jurisdiction. Our case concerns the Bargerveen: a nature conservation area that recently acquired Natura2000 status. Ground water levels are controversial because farmers and nature conservation agencies have diverging interests. In spring 2006 the water board Velt en Vecht has launched a participatory process for defining a GGOR for the Bargerveen area. The authors have been involved in this process from the start. One of the complicating factors for this particular decision-making process is the lack of an authoritative hydrological model. In the past 10 years, several models have been used to resolve water management issues in this region, but all of them have been challenged by stakeholders. In this paper, we investigate the role of models in this type of participatory water policy making. Building on concepts from applied social science, policy science, and process management we address the following questions: - What are the different problem perceptions in this particular context? - Do hydrologial models introduce a bias in problem definition, and to what extent does this reduce the problem resolution space? - How can hydrological models be used effectively in a multi-stakeholder setting even when their validity is questioned? We will propose a framework for reflection and design - based on four dimensions of participatory processes: substance, progress, openness and protection of core values - that guides the definition of 'rules of the game' for the development and use of hydrological models in a participatory process. We will illustrate its application using the Bargerveen case, which leads to the identification of a number of barriers that may impede its implementation. Mot clefs (séparées par virgules) : participatory policy making, groundwater level management, hydrological models, process management, rules of the game, Natura2000
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