Table 1. Overview of the case studies. The types of studies included (1) literature review of a completed process, (2) interviews with stakeholds involved in completed process, (3) observation of an ongoing process, (4) participation in an ongoing process, and (5) design of and participation in an ongoing process.

Country Basin Type of study Topic Context Process Major outcomes Reference
Belgium Flemish 4 Valley development initiative, with emphasis on nature development and flood protection; this was the initiative of one of the two main authorities, which at first did not want to involve the other authority Ongoing discussions on transferring management responsibilities; limited experience with participatory approaches Public involvement limited to information and consultation Better relations between the two main authorities Craps and Prins (2004), Prins et al. (2005)
England and Wales Ribble 4 Pilot basin for the implementation of the European Water Framework Directive (WFD), focusing on water quality and ecology WFD pilot basin; testing of guidance from the Common Implementation Strategy Establishment of a stakeholder forum, although some stakeholders were difficult to reach; visioning workshops at local and regional levels Stakeholder vision for the basin; inflexibility at the national level constrained social learning at the basin level Davis and Rees (2004)
France Dordogne 1, 3 A wide variety of problems related to the Dordogne river; the maintenance of two tributaries, the Cère and the Céou Cooperation among the six major departments in the basin, supported by elected politicians; strengthening of position toward other stakeholders Establishment of EPIDOR, a joint river board, and organization of the Dordogne Valley Summit with 150 participants;
Cère basin: the project leader of the participatory process conducted research, making contacts and building trust;
Céou basin: an external consultant was hired and a meeting was organized
Valley Charter, containing agreement on 370 targets; no agreement could be reached on 32 targets; some competency struggles remain between EPIDOR and other institutions;
Cère basin: important agreements were reached;
Céou basin: little progress was made
Barraqué et al. (2004)
Germany Elbe 5 Implementation of the WFD at the international and national levels; public participation in the state of Thuringia Tradition in which public participation is limited to information provision Newsletters and fora at different levels; limited interaction among stakeholders Limited results Borowski (2005)
Hungary Danube 1, 3 National dialogue on water for food and the environment dealing with the implementation of the WFD in agricultural water management Hungary recently joined the European Union; difficult economic situation in the agricultural sector; tension between agricultural and environmental organizations Twenty-three meetings with agricultural water management organizations, experts, ministry representatives, and the Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF), with presentations and discussions on topics selected by the participants Changes in the official Hungarian reaction to the European Commission’s document on the WFD and the Common Agricultural Policy; development of trust between the water management organizations and WWF; implementation of joint pilot projects Ijjas and Botond (2004)
Italy Bacchiglione 1, 4 Development of sewage treatment infrastructure to protect drinking water sources Local opposition to a proposal to relocate a wastewater discharge outlet Creation of a technical working group with stakeholder representation The problem was reframed in terms of basin-wide water quality improvement and social consensus was achieved; the water authority does not recognize the legitimacy of the working group and uses it instrumentally Massarutto et al. (2004)
The Netherlands Meuse 1, 2, 3 Integrated exploration of the Meuse by a regional branch of the National Water Management Agency to study whether increasing peak discharge caused by climate change can be managed by widening the river bed National flood protection policy to widen rivers Working sessions with different authorities and organized stakeholder groups to obtain information and points of view Trust and understanding grew at the interpersonal level; policy and decisions at the national level could not be discussed, which constrained social learning Otter et al. (2004)
Scotland Dee 1, 5 Development of a catchment management plan and pilot projects in three subcatchments The lead organization recognized early in the process that it could not deliver environmental improvements without the knowledge and expertise of other stakeholders Creation of a steering group and working groups with all major stakeholders Increased capacity and confidence of stakeholders improved relations; new management options were developed and implemented Unpublished manuscript
Spain Muga 1, 2, 3 Integrated assessment of water uses and water quality Historical: regime changes;
Recent: movement for a new water culture with less infrastructure and more demand-based management
Limited formal participation; participatory integrated assessment organized by a university Environment and economy are no longer seen as necessarily conflicting Tàbara and Saurí (2004)
Spain Guadiana 1, 2 Elaboration of the special plan for the Upper Guadiana basin to deal with water scarcity issues Overexploitation of the aquifer Creation of a general users’ association in 1986; information and consultation activities in 2002–2003; less formal participation from 2004 to the present The special plan is still under elaboration; important changes have taken place at the national political level since 2004 Maestu and Costeja (2005)