Andrzej Tonderski1, Emilia Okrągła1, Michał Machnikowski2, Halina Burakowska3, Karin Tonderski4
1 POMInnO Sp. z o.o. Gdynia, Poland
2 Starostwo Powiatowe w Wejherowie, Wejherowo, Poland
3 Instytut Meteorologii i Gospodarki Wodnej – Państwowy Instytut Badawczy, Oddział Morski, Gdynia, Poland
4 Linköping University, Linköping, Sweden
A recent EC assessment of the implementation of River Basin Management Plans (RBMP) stated that measures to achieve ‘Good status’ are often based on what is feasible and in the pipeline, rather than on the most appropriate and cost-effective measures. In the BONUS MIRACLE project analysis was made if a social learning approach to water governance can lead to identification of pathways that better address water problems and priorities. In the Reda catchment (Poland), early stakeholder consultations revealed that the systemic issue in the basin is flooding and that the nutrient status is of low stakeholder priority, despite the river not meeting Good ecological status according to the WFD.
Diverse stakeholder groups with varying interests were then invited to formulate development pathways as alternatives to the existing plans (Business-as-usual) for the catchment. They suggested measures that were addressing the priority problems and were of a more systemic character than those typically included in both the RBMP and the FRMP. For example, various water retention measures were proposed to reduce the flood risks, and it was estimated that they could lead to multiple benefits, including improved biodiversity and nutrient retention. Furthermore, when discussing the Flood Risk Management Plans (FRMP), a discrepancy was identified between the plan and areas at risk for flooding according to local knowledge, calling for an update of the assessments. Also, better planning and public education were addressed as an alternative to heavy infrastructure solutions.
Clearly, an improved water governance will require a stronger stakeholder involvement to identify the priority issues and better integrate different policy goals, such as water quality, flooding, agriculture, and rural & urban development.