Ecology and Society Ecology and Society
E&S Home > Vol. 16, Iss. 2 > Art. 16 > Abstract Open Access Publishing 
Supporting the Constructive Use of Existing Hydrological Models in Participatory Settings: a Set of “Rules of the Game”

Pieter W. G. Bots, Delft University of Technology; Cemagref
Rianne Bijlsma, Deltares
Yorck von Korff, Lisode
Nicolien Van der Fluit, Buro Natuur+Water
Henk Wolters, Deltares

Full Text: HTML   
Download Citation


Abstract

When hydrological models are used in support of water management decisions, stakeholders often contest these models because they perceive certain aspects to be inadequately addressed. A strongly contested model may be abandoned completely, even when stakeholders could potentially agree on the validity of part of the information it can produce. The development of a new model is costly, and the results may be contested again. We consider how existing hydrological models can be used in a policy process so as to benefit from both hydrological knowledge and the perspectives and local knowledge of stakeholders. We define a code of conduct as a set of “rules of the game” that we base on a case study of developing a water management plan for a Natura 2000 site in the Netherlands. We propose general rules for agenda management and information sharing, and more specific rules for model use and option development. These rules structure the interactions among actors, help them to explicitly acknowledge uncertainties, and prevent expertise from being neglected or overlooked. We designed the rules to favor openness, protection of core stakeholder values, the use of relevant substantive knowledge, and the momentum of the process. We expect that these rules, although developed on the basis of a water-management issue, can also be applied to support the use of existing computer models in other policy domains. As rules will shape actions only when they are constantly affirmed by actors, we expect that the rules will become less useful in an “unruly” social environment where stakeholders constantly challenge the proceedings.

Key words

case study; conflict; hydrological model; institutions; Netherlands; participation; policy process; water management
Top
Ecology and Society. ISSN: 1708-3087