Forschungs- & Entwicklungsinformationsdienst der Gemeinschaft - CORDIS

A comparative description of decision making processes related to USWM in Europe

In the decision making process the implementation of water measures gets its form. By offering the three viewing angles legal framework, stakeholders and phasing, end-users can characterise their decision making process. This characterisation helps them to analyse problems.

The legal framework determines who is responsible, who has to pay and offers tools for water management. Constraints and resources offered to stakeholders by the legal framework are obviously different from one country to another. Dutch stakeholders are involved in a water management process very prescriptive; every activity impacting the receiving water bodies has to be declared and controlled. The way experimented solutions are monitored is standardised.

On the contrary, in the French case, urban runoff is not a matter of public policy at the national level: The Central State is source of recommendations but there is no compulsory prescription imposed to local governments. As a matter of consequence, there are sensible differences in the planning processes implemented in Netherlands and in France.

The degree of integration between the various plans (at the various scales) seems to be higher in the Dutch case than in the French one. France, well known for its centralisation, is experimenting a high degree of subsidiarity concerning its urban storm waters.

The analysis of stakeholders helps to position them in the process, to build a shared problem perception and to take chances. A chance occurs when a stakeholders sees an opportunity to realise his goal by means of water. This is an important issue, especially in France where stakeholders roles are often unclear, as a decentralisation process is ongoing. As shown in the detailed example of Audace, source control appears as a solution for the County Council to keep their key-role in the water management, promoting a new expertise.

The phasing of the decision making process tells what kind of actions when to undertake in the decision making process. It is very important not to follow a linear sequence, but to interact between the phases. Only then experience of implementation and maintenance can be made fruitful for the planning phase. The case studies give end-users inspiration to apply these ideas to their local situation. The analysis of these case studies also helps to understand why some types of BMPs are preferred to others. The planning procedure implemented by the County Council of Seine Saint-Denis obviously favoured BMPs that are sufficiently visible and have a significant impact on the global water retention at the County level.

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