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Involving farmers in local water eutrophication management: lessons learnt from two Swedish catchments
Södertörn University, School of Natural Sciences, Technology and Environmental Studies, Environmental Science. KTH, Hållbar utveckling, miljövetenskap och teknik. (Environmental Management and Assessment Research Group)
KTH, Hållbar utveckling, miljövetenskap och teknik.
KTH, Hållbar utveckling, miljövetenskap och teknik.
Södertörn University, School of Natural Sciences, Technology and Environmental Studies, Environmental Science.
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Stakeholder participation is increasingly important in water governance worldwide. In Europe, the EU Water Framework Directive (WFD) requires Member states to encourage the active involvement of stakeholders in planning and implementation of the WFD. In Sweden, eutrophication is one of the major water quality problems, which is primarily caused by diffuse nutrient leakage from agriculture. Farmers are, therefore, increasingly invited to participate in local water groups to discuss potential local action to mitigate nutrient leakage. This paper presents the lessons learnt from two Swedish catchments, where farmers and other local stakeholders participated in local water groups. Both catchments have severe eutrophication problems, and have been pointed out as “hot-spots” for wetland creation as mitigation measure. The overall aim of this study was to identify farmers’ primary concerns regarding local water management and wetland creation in particular. The results were based on data from meeting observation, interviews and a questionnaire. The paper identified four major aspects: (i) farmers’ concern about the commitment of other actors in local action plans; (ii) farmers desired improved information on local water management, monitoring of water quality, as well as improved information on wetland creation; (iii) farmers were concerned about phosphorus scarcity, and were interested in wetlands as phosphor traps; and, (iv) farmers requested developments in catchment-based platforms. Therefore, the paper suggests that organization of water management at catchment level could play an important role to cope with farmers’ primary concerns: Catchment platforms should disseminate information on local water management, identify information and data gaps, distribute responsibilities and commitment, enhance incentives for farmers’ commitment and enable trust-building. Consideration of these aspects could lead towards more robust forms for participation, inducing action and, consequently, improved water quality.

Keyword [en]
stakeholder participation; EU Water Framework Directive; catchment-based water management; eutrophication; wetland creation.
National Category
Environmental Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:sh:diva-27452OAI: oai:DiVA.org:sh-27452DiVA: diva2:811725
Note

Som manuskript i avhandling. As manuscript in dissertation.

Available from: 2015-05-05 Created: 2015-05-13 Last updated: 2015-05-13Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. From words to action: Lessons from active stakeholder participation in water management
Open this publication in new window or tab >>From words to action: Lessons from active stakeholder participation in water management
2015 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Water governance worldwide is going through a shift towards more holistic and participatory approaches. In Europe, the EU Water Framework Directive (WFD) adopted in 2000, aims at protecting surface water and groundwater. The WFD emphasizes the importance of stakeholder participation in planning and implementation of the directive, and in order to reach environmental objectives. However, the empirical findings are insufficient regarding how stakeholder participation can lead to improved decisions and implemented plans. In Sweden, a major water quality problem is eutrophication caused to a large extend by diffuse nutrient leakage from agriculture. Therefore, it is important to involve farmers in water management, since their participation can lead the commitment of mitigation measures for reduced nutrient leakage. The overall aim of this study is to contribute the knowledge and understanding of active stakeholder participation in water management, in particular how it can lead to implementation of water quality objectives. The thesis addresses stakeholder participation in eutrophication management in local Swedish catchments, with a particular focus on farmers’ participation in the commitment of mitigation measures. The results are based on case study research, involving four catchment areas in Sweden with severe eutrophication problems. The thesis identified socio-demographic factors, farmers’ knowledge, and the level of existing information and economic support for wetland creation, as factors affecting farmers’ willingness to participate in wetland creation to mitigate nutrient leakage. In the local catchment groups studied, farmers and other local stakeholders participated to discuss potential mitigation activities. In these, farmers emphasized other emitting actors’ responsibility and commitment in local action plans. Where this was realized, social capital within the group increased and led to further collaboration. The thesis also analyzed large-scale wetland programmes at catchment scale, where the organizational and institutional arrangements were central to realize farmers’ participation: inter-municipal agreements entailed sufficient resources, the organization involved the most relevant actors; and leadership resources were important. The thesis argues that organizing water management at a catchment level can be important to cope with challenges related to stake-holder participation for mitigating diffuse nutrient leakage. In particular for dissemination and collection of information, suggesting potential measures for all concerned actors, provide resources needed to realize actions, and to build trust and collaboration. The thesis also emphasized that stakeholder participation has to be underpinned by a genuine meaning, both for the initiators and the participants.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: KTH Royal Institute of Technology, 2015. ix, 50 p.
Series
TRITA-LWR. PHD, ISSN 1650-8602 ; 2015:01
Keyword
stakeholder participation; EU Water Framework Directive; eutrophication; catchment-based water management; agriculture.
National Category
Environmental Sciences
Research subject
Environmental Studies; Baltic and East European studies
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:sh:diva-27446 (URN)1169/42/2007:10 (Local ID)978-91-7595-569-8 (ISBN)1169/42/2007:10 (Archive number)1169/42/2007:10 (OAI)
Public defence
2015-05-28, F3, Lindstedtsvägen 26, Stockholm, 14:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Projects
ECOPOOL
Funder
The Foundation for Baltic and East European Studies, 1169/42/2007:10
Available from: 2015-05-13 Created: 2015-05-13 Last updated: 2015-05-13Bibliographically approved

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