DEL MORAL Leandro*, HILL Gary**, PANEQUE***, PEDREGAL Belén*, SPASH Clive** and URAMA Kevin**.
* Department of Human Geography, University of Seville, c/ Maria de Padilla, s/n 41004 Seville, firstname.lastname@example.org
** The Macaulay Institute and University of Aberdeen.
*** University Pablo de Olavide (Seville)
The process of evaluating and authorising water-related projects is critical in the context of sustainable river basin governance. The new Water Framework Directive (WFD) asks for the prior evaluation of all new river basin interventions but does not provide extensive guidance to the river basin authorities on how to carry out such evaluations. Unless the evaluation procedure of new projects evolves into a multi-dimensional and multi-stakeholder participatory approach, that takes into account complexity, uncertainty and conflictive values in dispute, river basin objectives as expressed in the new WFD will be at stake (Funtowicz, O’Connor and Ravetz, 1996). The main objectives of ADVISOR project (Integrated Project Evaluation and Water Management) are to provide an integrated project evaluation framework and methodology and to develop a set of guidelines for EU river basin authorities and agencies responsible for water administration.
The aim of the first work-package of the ADVISOR project was to undertake an ex-post analysis of past evaluations of important river basin projects and policy interventions in Europe, i.e. the development of the Evinos reservoir in Greece, the designation of the River Ythan as a Nitrate Vulnerable Zone in the UK, a river restoration project in The Gresmaas in The Netherlands, the development of the Alqueva dam in Portugal and the Ebro River transfer project in Spain. The barriers and opportunities to achieve sound evaluation were identified for each case study. The aim of the second work-package of the project, from which this paper is an outcome, was to contribute to the development of an “Integrated Theory for the Evaluation of River Basin Projects in the EU” starting from the comparative (horizontal) analysis of these past evaluations.
For the purpose of ADVISOR, the integrated theory of evaluation encompasses four inter-related dimensions of analysis: information, assessment, participation and context. The horizontal analysis will apply specific analytical frameworks to each of the four dimensions of this ‘evaluation tetrahedron’. Together, the horizontal analysis of the four vertices will provide a comprehensive understanding of the theorisation and shortcomings of the evaluation process to date.