Involving farmers in local water eutrophication management: lessons learnt from two Swedish catchments
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
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.
stakeholder participation; EU Water Framework Directive; catchment-based water management; eutrophication; wetland creation.
Research subject Land and Water Resources Engineering
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-166230OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kth-166230DiVA: diva2:809981
QS 20152015-05-052015-05-052015-05-06Bibliographically approved