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Mediterranean citizens and scientists evaluate actions to manage water in the face of global change

Citizens have evaluated Water Management Options for local river basins in the four cardinal points of the Mediterranean. In a second cycle of workshops, part of the EU-funded BEWATER project, participants discussed the first results of an analysis by scientists on the potential outcomes of different Water Management Options, targeting the issues and challenges identified by River Basin stakeholders last year. Options for each Basin were then evaluated based on stakeholder preferences.

The 2015 Water Management Option (WMO) workshops are part of the BEWATER project to ensure societal participation in the development of options, leading to Adaptation Plans, for management of their local river basin. The project is taking place over three and a half years with funding through the EU’s 7th Framework Programme. Case Study River Basins (CSRBs) are located across the Mediterranean, in Pedieos (Cyprus), Rmel (Tunisia), Tordera (Spain) and Vipava (Slovenia). After the project’s launch in 2013, stakeholders identified in the four CSRBs were consulted on the challenges and issues faced by their basin in the first round of workshops (May - June 2014), with follow-up meetings later in the year. Using this information, scientists adopted an innovative methodology - Fuzzy Cognitive Mapping - to visually describe the inter-relations and different weightings of the challenges listed. This methodology enabled scientists to assess the impacts of different WMOs and portray these in a manner accessible to a wide range of the basin’s society. During the second round of workshops, held in May – July 2015, participants were introduced to Multi-criteria analysis (MCA) as a means of evaluating the WMOs, with participants deciding which criteria were most important to them through voting and weighing. The MCA combines the impacts of the options, taking into account the priorities of those present. Participants discussed the outcomes of the MCA, with results in some basins being different from participant perceptions, while in others the MCA outcomes were remarkably similar to views held by stakeholders. The final MCA results will be complemented with a cost assessment, concluding phase one of the project. These completed WMOs for each river basin will then be considered in the second phase of the project, again by a participatory process involving citizens and scientists, for the development of River Basin Adaptation Plans. The workshops were facilitated by BEWATER partners PROSPEX, with FCM and MCA methods developed by the European Forest Institute (EFI), in collaboration with institutions from the four CSRBs: The Cyprus Institute (CyI), National Research Institute of Rural Engineering, Water and Forests (INRGREF), Centre for Ecological Research and Forestry Applications (CREAF) and Institute for Water of the Republic of Slovenia (IZVRS). BEWATER project receives funding from the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme for research, technological development and demonstration. The project, coordinated by CREAF, aims to develop River Basin Adaptation plans in the Mediterranean through citizen participation.

Keywords

participation, society, adaptation, water management, fuzzy cognitive mapping, Mediterranean, river basins

Countries

Cyprus, Spain, Slovenia, Tunisia

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