Taking Stock of Lessons from Participatory Modeling Experiences for Integrated Water Resources Management in Portugal

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According to the latest report on “The European Environment” many water bodies are at risk of failing to meet the aim of the EU Water Framework Directive (WFD) – i.e. to achieve good status by 2015 – due to water scarcity, physical modifications and poor water quality (EEA, 2010). The full implementation of the integrated approach to water resource management foreseen by WFD is needed to revert these trends, which is particularly dependent upon the capacity to promote active public and stakeholder participation. Similar participatory requirements have been set by complementary policy efforts, such as the European Integrated Marine Policy and its environmental pillar, the European Marine Strategy Framework Directive that, among other objectives, requires EU Member States to develop programs of measures to reach a “good environmental status” in the marine environment by 2020 (CEC, 2008). In this paper we provide a detailed description and analysis of two case studies developed in Portugal in which different modeling exercises with stakeholders have been tested to gain new insights on how to meet the participatory challenges presented by recent water related policy frameworks in Europe. We start by describing an experience developed in the lower Guadiana River, where three modeling workshops were conducted to build a shared qualitative causal diagram and a scoping simulation model of river basin problems, pressures and impacts. In the second case study, we explore participatory modeling’s potential as a platform for integrated sustainability assessment of maritime policies. We focus on the results of a problem conceptualization workshop in which participants identified the interrelationships between different marine and coastal issues and selected leverage points for sustainable policy interventions. Finally, we take stock of lessons derived from these cases, discussing their design and evaluation features and highlighting the main weaknesses/successful outcomes fostered by the proposed participatory modeling methods and tools.
Original languageUnknown
Title of host publicationProceedings of the American Water Resources Association Summer Speciality Conference
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2011
EventAmerican Water Resources Summer Speciality Conference -
Duration: 1 Jan 2011 → …


ConferenceAmerican Water Resources Summer Speciality Conference
Period1/01/11 → …

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