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01.10.2011 | Ausgabe 13/2011

Water Resources Management 13/2011

A Framework for the Analysis of Governance Structures Applying to Groundwater Resources and the Requirements for the Sustainable Management of Associated Ecosystem Services

Zeitschrift:
Water Resources Management > Ausgabe 13/2011
Autoren:
Kathrin Knüppe, Claudia Pahl-Wostl

Abstract

The competing demands placed on groundwater for socio-economic and for ecological benefits, and the resultant tradeoffs, represent a major challenge for the management arena. The governance of groundwater resources and the sustainable management of associated ecosystem services must take into consideration human and biophysical characteristics as intertwined systems. Frameworks and analytical tools are required to help understand complex governance regimes, and the linkages between management and the corresponding effects on ecosystem services. Presented in this paper is a framework for the analysis of groundwater governance based on the adaptive management approach and the ecosystem services concept. Governance can be analyzed on the basis of certain characteristics. One characteristic of a governance regime assumed to be crucial for adaptive and sustainable management is vertical integration, which refers to the connectedness of different administrative levels, including the involvement of non-governmental stakeholders in decision-making and planning processes. The framework was applied in the Upper Guadiana Basin in Spain, where the intensive use of groundwater has led to significant conflicts between farmers, authorities and environmental conservation groups. The analysis showed that conflicts arose from a lack of vertical integration; e.g., one-way communication between official authorities and the exclusion of local stakeholders during planning processes. The framework is deemed to be a strong analytical tool as it provides a basis for organized and context-specific case study assessment and renders complex groundwater management more transparent and comprehensible. The framework will be further applied and enhanced for application in international case studies.

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