Role of hydrology in policy, society and interdisciplinary collaborations: across disciplines and beyond scientists

Liaising with stakeholders, policy-makers and society is becoming increasingly important for academic research to turn research into impactful action, but also to improve research by allowing society to take part within research processes in terms of co-producing knowledge and policy. In hydrological sciences, this is needed when implementing innovative solutions in areas such as river basin management, water allocation, impact-based hydrological forecasting, flood protection, drought risk management, climate change mitigation, ecohydrology and sustainable environmental solutions, among others.
Contributions focus on:
1. Science-policy interface in hydrology. How science influences policy and policies impact science? How scientists can provide easily digestible pieces of evidence to policy-makers? What are the key gaps in joining science to feasible policy solutions in the water sector? How can we use knowledge to improve policy, and vice-versa? How do we deal with uncertainty, adaptation, path dependencies but also with aspects of power, inequality and vested interests in the co-production of knowledge and policy?
2. Interdisciplinary collaborations. How do we create the interdisciplinary knowledge needed to address the questions faced by decision-makers and societal stakeholders? How have new, interdisciplinary, science questions been generated in response to existing and emerging research problems? How can individual disciplinary perspectives come together in interdisciplinary studies and experiments?
3. Hydrology as practiced within society. Who are the users of our knowledge, how useful is our knowledge for those societal users, how useful are our tools, models and methods? What approaches are available to support a fruitful collaboration between hydrological science and practitioners? And, since scientists are not removed from the things they study, how has hydrological science been shaped by the historical interplay of cultural, political and economic factors? What are the opportunities and challenges that this science/society nexus creates for producing scientific knowledge?

Co-organized by EOS6
Convener: Maria-Helena Ramos | Co-conveners: Gemma Carr, Sharlene L. GomesECSECS, Britta HöllermannECSECS, Thomas ThalerECSECS, Jutta Thielen-del Pozo, Elena Toth, Micha Werner
vPICO presentations
| Mon, 26 Apr, 13:30–15:00 (CEST)

vPICO presentations: Mon, 26 Apr

Chairpersons: Maria-Helena Ramos, Thomas Thaler
Tobias Krueger and James Linton

With this contribution we connect to the 3rd theme of the session, ‘hydrology as practiced within society’. Based on our recent article Linton & Krueger (2020), we demonstrate how the reference conditions and subsequent water quality targets under the EU Water Framework Directive (WFD) do not exist ‘out there’, waiting to be discovered, but are outcomes of complex negotiations between hydrological, ecological, technical and socio-political realities.

Treating reference conditions and targets as naturally given, as WFD implementation does at least implicitly, upholds a false sense of authority that obscures the manifold choices in the creation of the reference conditions while denying the people charged with implementing the targets or having to live with the resulting water quality an influence over those choices.

We argue that the concept of reference conditions must be abandoned in a world were water everywhere bears the traces of human presence. Instead, water quality targets should be set openly, location-specific and involving those for whom water quality is a matter of concern. We will give examples from other jurisdictions where such an approach is established practice.


Linton, J. and Krueger, T. (2020), The Ontological Fallacy of the Water Framework Directive: Implications and Alternatives. Water Alternatives, 13(3): 513-533.

How to cite: Krueger, T. and Linton, J.: The construction of reference conditions under the EU Water Framework Directive, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-227, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu21-227, 2020.

Schuyler Houser, Reza Pramana, and Maurits Ertsen

Recognizing the interrelatedness of water management and conceptual value of IWRM, many water resource governance systems are shifting from hierarchical arrangements towards more collaborative and participative networks. Increasing calls for participation recognize the value of drawing on social, political-administrative, and other kinds of knowledge in addition to technical water expertise. Participatory mandates, coordination bodies, and science-policy networks have emerged to facilitate knowledge integration, promote adaptive capacity, and align organizations in poly-centric systems.

Since the maintenance and effectiveness of such arrangements are contingent on trust and alignment rather than command and control, and since diverse stakeholders are engaged to co-produce knowledge, collaborators must grapple with identifying shared goals, developing knowledge management strategies to organize inputs, and attaining early progress to promote ongoing cooperation. But guidance is limited with respect to how such integrative aims are to be accomplished.

This research explores how systematic (but not necessarily convergent) problem structuring can support the forming, reordering, and cohering of water resource networks, especially when a complex issue – in this case, water quality management – rises to prominence on the policy agenda. In the early stages of a water quality project in the Brantas River Basin, Indonesia, stakeholder discussions suggested divergent conceptualizations of water quality and ideas about what conditions ‘matter’. Thus, instead of taking hydrological data as the starting point, this research first asks: What Brantas River(s) are we talking about, and why? Q-methodology is used to identify alternative perspectives on water quality held by a diverse set of stakeholders, including hydrologists. The analysis explores which aspects of the policy problem are consistent, which are contested, and whether problems indicated by hydrological science overlap, conflict, or cohere with those perceived by other stakeholders.

The research posits that, if scientists, engineers, decision-makers, community leaders, and other participants can appreciate areas of convergence and divergence regarding the water quality problem itself, they can lay groundwork for knowledge co-production; recognize opportunities for cooperation; better locate science in the problem space; and identify potential early wins to secure commitment. The research also asks to what extent consensus in problem structuring is necessary, or whether it is sufficient to identify strategies that are acceptable to different ontological viewpoints.

How to cite: Houser, S., Pramana, R., and Ertsen, M.: Structuring the water quality policy problem: Applying Q-methodology to explore perspectives in hydrology, government, and community, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-8778, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu21-8778, 2021.

Olga Vasniova, Olga Biarozka, Andreas Scheidleder, and Franko Humer

Since 2018, the “European Union Water Initiative Plus for Eastern Partnership (EaP) Countries (EUWI+)” has been providing significant assistance in the development of a number of pilot projects focused on the phased implementation of the main provisions of the EU Water Framework Directive (WFD) related to groundwater monitoring in the Republic of Belarus. The implementation began with the identification (delineation) of groundwater bodies, their characterization, assessment and improvement of groundwater monitoring networks and several groundwater investigations in order to collect the necessary data to assess groundwater risk and status. Just recently, transboundary cooperation with Ukraine, resulted in the identification of common transboundary groundwater corridors and the proposal of a monitoring network for transboundary groundwater.

The next logical step in the implementation of the WFD is the assessment of the quantitative and qualitative groundwater status, which confirms whether the environmental objectives of the WFD for groundwater have been achieved. Thus, in 2020, a draft methodology for assessing the groundwater status in the Republic of Belarus in accordance with the principles of the WFD was developed.

The elaborated draft methodology defines criteria for the assessment of groundwater quantitative and qualitative status (“good” and “poor”) and the assessment of the risk (“at risk” and “not at risk”) whether the environmental objectives of the WFD cannot be achieved. The criteria consider all relevant and related national legislation and legal provisions which are in force and the assessments follow step-by-step implementation procedures.

A preliminary testing of the proposed methodology and a list of open issues that need to be solved complete the work.

The proposed methodological approach is a first attempt and needs to be thoroughly tested with available groundwater monitoring data in the coming months, both for groundwater bodies with dense monitoring networks and groundwater bodies with limited groundwater monitoring, Finally, the approach needs to be intensively discussed at national level before being implemented into national legislation.

How to cite: Vasniova, O., Biarozka, O., Scheidleder, A., and Humer, F.: Proposed methodology for the assessment of groundwater chemical and quantitative status in the Republic of Belarus (in accordance with the principles of the EU Water Framework Directive), EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-4102, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu21-4102, 2021.

Rubén A. Villar-Navascués, Sandra Ricart, Antonio M. Rico-Amorós, and María Hernández-Hernández

Since the middle of the 20th century, urban-tourist development in tourist destinations on the Mediterranean coast has required the creation of complex water supply systems to guarantee a growing water demand. At present, the challenges posed by climate change around the management of water resources requires the implementation of adequate water policies and sustainable environmental solutions to foster the adaptation to a foreseeable future characterized by lower availability of conventional water resources and more recurrent and intense droughts. In this context, the link between the scientific field, the stakeholders from the tourism sector, and the decision-makers is vital to favor viable, effective, and consensual solutions that shift the focus from the objective of guarantee tourist water demand to a sustainability scenario from both an environmental, economic, and social point of view. Therefore, it is relevant to question whether there is a large gap between the actions and focus of attention in each of these three areas (scientific, decision-makers, and stakeholders). In other words, does scientific research related to water consumption by the tourism sector adequately respond to the knowledge needs required by stakeholders and decision-makers to achieve the aforementioned sustainability objectives? Through a literature review, this study addresses the main topics, methodologies, and results related to water consumption in hotels on the Spanish Mediterranean coast and their possible impact on the actions made by managers, decision-makers or stakeholders from the tourism sector. To evaluate the science-policy interface, it has also been made a policy review of the main laws, regulations, and plans developed by the different levels of public administration and other private entities in the tourism sector concerning water consumption in hotels, for the Benidorm case study, located in the southeast of Spain. To identify the measures implemented by stakeholders from the tourism sector to reduce water consumption and their vision about the challenges and barriers in this issue, we have taken into account the results of previous projects in which more than twenty surveys and interviews have been carried out to the hotel managers as well as to the Benidorm hotel association (HOSBEC). Likewise, to contextualize the results of these surveys and interviews, we have analyzed the raw water supply data provided by the entity in charge of this service, the Marina Baja Water Consortium, as well as billing and smart meter data from the hotels, provided by the company in charge of the local water supply service, Hidraqua. The results will make possible to highlight the links and differences found between the problems and research approaches raised from the scientific field, the regulations and plans proposed by the public administration and other private decision-makers and the actions and future challenges identified by the tourism sector in the city of Benidorm. The identification of the existing gaps between the three areas (scientists, policy-makers, and stakeholders) will be useful to reshape the agenda of future research and re-think the role of science when responding to managers and decision-makers’ requests on water management and tourism nexus.

How to cite: Villar-Navascués, R. A., Ricart, S., Rico-Amorós, A. M., and Hernández-Hernández, M.: Is scientific research on water-tourism nexus responding to the challenges identified by stakeholders and policy-makers? The case of Benidorm, Spain, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-11041, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu21-11041, 2021.

Matteo Mannocchi

Hydro-Meteorological Hazards (HMH) such as drought, floods and storm surge have always constituted a threat to social-ecological systems (SES) but, due to increasing uncertainties caused by climate and by rapidly changing socio-economic boundary conditions, it is necessary to step up effort to mitigate the risks. More attention should be devoted to understanding and managing the transition from traditional management regimes to more sustainable and resilient regimes that take into account environmental, technological, economic, institutional and cultural characteristics of river basins.

Since the 1990s many scholars, from both natural and social sciences, have urged to integrate knowledge and shed light on the functioning of the SESs in order to increase resilience to perturbances (Berkes and Folke 1998). As sustainability science is mainly a problem-driven and solution-oriented field that follows a transformational agenda (Lang 2012), it becomes evident that the nexus between environmental, political and institutional dimensions cannot be ignored to accelerate the path toward sustainability.  

There is consensus that the complex, non-linear and rather unpredictable nature of HMHs, exacerbated by climate change, should require a more adaptive (Armitage 2007), flexible and holistic (Holling 2002) management approach that can speed up and reinforce the learning loops to allow for more rapid assessment and implementation of the consequences of new insights and scientific evidence (Pahl Wostle 2007). Cooperation among a wide range of stakeholders with different knowledge, expertise and views is often indicated as a prerequisite to establish a resilient and adaptive water management regime (Olsson et al. 2004). These principles mainstreamed since the beginning of the 2000s and synthesized by concepts like “co-management”, “adaptive and integrated management”, or “adaptive co-management”, are the pillars of what is considered a paradigm shift in water management (Pahl Wostle and Nicola 2011) and have inspired institutional settings, policies, and practices.

However, the debate is still ongoing to determine at what stage of the transition we are in, whether the aforementioned principles have been adopted and translated into practices on a wide scale, and whether and how such practices have contributed to increasing the resilience of the SES. It will be critically examined the literature trying to identify the main trend of the last two decades. The review will be accompanied by the case-studies upon which theories have been built and tested.

How to cite: Mannocchi, M.: The transition toward resilient water management regimes: where are we now?, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-13592, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu21-13592, 2021.

Sandra Ricart and Andrea Castelletti

Balancing socio-ecological systems among competing water demands is a difficult and complex task. Traditional approaches based on limited, linear growth optimization strategies overseen by command/control have partially failed to account for the inherent unpredictability and irreducible uncertainty affecting most water systems due to climate change. Governments and managers are increasingly faced with understanding driving-factors of major change processes affecting multifunctional systems. In the last decades, the shift to address the integrated management of water resources from a technocratic ‘‘top-down’’ to a more integrated ‘‘bottom-up’’ and participatory approach was motivated by the awareness that water challenges require integrated solutions and a socially legitimate planning process. Assuming water flows as physical, social, political, and symbolic matters, it is necessary to entwining these domains in specific configurations, in which key stakeholders and decision-makers could directly interact through social-learning. The literature on integrated water resources management highlights two important factors to achieve this goal: to deepen stakeholders’ perception and to ensure their participation as a mechanism of co-production of knowledge. Stakeholder Analysis and Governance Modelling approaches are providing useful knowledge about how to integrate social-learning in water management, making the invisible, visible. The first one aims to identify and categorize stakeholders according to competing water demands, while the second one determines interactions, synergies, overlapping discourses, expectations, and influences between stakeholders, including power-relationships. The HydroSocial Cycle (HSC) analysis combines both approaches as a framework to reinforce integrated water management by focusing on stakeholder analysis and collaborative governance. This method considers that water and society are (re)making each other so the nature and competing objectives of stakeholders involved in complex water systems may affect its sustainability and management. Using data collected from a qualitative questionnaire and applying descriptive statistics and matrices, the HSC deepens on interests, expectations, and power-influence relationships between stakeholders by addressing six main issues affecting decision-making processes: relevance, representativeness, recognition, performance, knowledge, and collaboration. The aim of this contribution is to outline this method from both theory and practice perspective by highlighting the benefits of including social sciences approaches in transdisciplinary research collaborations when testing water management strategies affecting competing and dynamic water systems.

How to cite: Ricart, S. and Castelletti, A.: The HydroSocial Cycle approach to deepen on socio-ecological systems analysis and water management, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-599, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu21-599, 2021.

Ida Wallin

Knowledge has been shown to be more effectively implemented in practice when produced in collaboration between researchers and other stakeholders as the co-produced knowledge is more likely to be accepted and found relevant. Knowledge co-production processes have however been found guilty of depoliticizing and hiding political struggles to the end of reinforcing existing unequal power relations and prevent broad societal transformation from taking place. From this perspective, knowledge co-production can come into conflict with participatory governance that focuses on the empowerment and capacity building of actors, social justice and advocacy. In this presentation I take a closer look at this conflictual perspective and propose a research focus on knowledge practices for exploring and analyzing participatory governance options for flood risk management (FRM) and disaster risk reduction (DRR). I do this by exemplifying and presenting a research design developed within the newly started PARADeS-project.

The PARADeS-project is a research project led by German research institutions in close collaboration with partners in Ghana and with the overall aim to contribute to enhancing Ghana’s national flood risk and disaster management strategy. Co-production of knowledge is foreseen to take place in several workshops including collaborative modelling, scenario- and policy back-casting exercises. One of the planned project outputs is a concept of participatory governance in FRM and DRR based on the findings from a stakeholder analysis, a policy network analysis and a participatory assessment of different policy options.

In this project context a research focus on stakeholders’ knowledge practices can be used to inform and improve the participatory governance concept and facilitate its implementation process. Knowledge is used by stakeholders as a powerful resource in suggesting certain policy options and convincing others of their necessity. Knowledge practices entail how actors use knowledge to argue, convince and make decisions. Through knowledge practices, stakeholders decide what knowledge to base decisions on and how to convince others of their position using that knowledge. What knowledge becomes accepted as legitimate in such interactions - often deliberative settings - can be decisive for the acceptability of any policy option. It is therefore important to study not only the different types of stakeholders and technical options for FRM and DRR, but the interaction between stakeholders and how they use information and co-create knowledge - the knowledge practices.

Within the presentation I discuss the proposed research design for how to study knowledge practices and how to make use of these findings when going from research project and co-production of knowledge to a concept of participatory governance in flood risk management and disaster risk reduction in Ghana.

How to cite: Wallin, I.: From co-production of knowledge to a participatory governance concept: a research design focusing on knowledge practices in flood risk management and disaster risk reduction, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-15643, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu21-15643, 2021.

Fafali Roy Ziga-Abortta, Sylvia Kruse, Britta Höllermann, and Joshua Ntajal

Stakeholder Participation is recognized in both flood risk governance research and praxis. It is argued to emphasize empowerment, equity, learning and trust among actors. Projects that fail to adequately understand stakeholder dynamics turn to have undesired results. We take a normative and instrumental approach to stakeholder analysis by categorizing and investigating stakeholder relationships. With the wide array of roles that different stakeholders play, it is important to adopt holistic approaches in engaging them. Our approach is three-tiered, aimed at integrating and enhancing stakeholder participation and involvement.

We present research on stakeholder identification, categorization and mapping within the ongoing PARADeS project on participatory assessment of flood-related disaster prevention in Ghana. We define stakeholders to include all formal governance institutions, NGOs, Public and Private Research Institutions as well as civil society and their organizations. As the general motivation of the project constitutes a combination of research, development, and institutional strengthening activities, the objective is to engage with the relevant stakeholders of flood-related disaster management in Ghana, collaboratively identify weaknesses in the flood risk management system and starting points for improving these systems. We thus, 1) undertook a network-based stakeholder analysis, and 2) developed a strategy for stakeholder integration and participation within the PARADeS project.

We elaborate a three-tiered aim of participation concept to be used within our Project where subsets of identified stakeholders serve different purposes: 1) To provide and coordinate access to other stakeholders for project work packages/partners, 2) To analyze stakeholder networks and their role for FRM in Ghana, and 3) To create co-ownership between project collaborators and target capacity building and multiplier effects to ensure long-lasting project output implementation and transfer of responsibility from the project to respective institutions in Ghana. First, we developed a matrix that helped us to identify and preliminarily categorize all stakeholders from a variety of sources following a multi-level governance approach. The categorization included but not limited to sectors of operation, political level, main functions of the stakeholders, and whether they were state/non-state or otherwise identified, their corresponding contact persons and different approaches in contacting them. Based on this, we performed a stakeholder mapping exercise which forms a basis for a Social Network Analysis to be done at a later time. The mapping exercise offers a vivid visualization of the stakeholders identified, their affiliations, sector and political level of operation, and is discussed and revalidated collaboratively with practitioners and policy actors.

In the further course of the project, the three-tiered approach to participation builds grounds for collaboration not only amongst scientists/researchers across disciplines but also among practitioners in the field of flood-related disaster risk management.

How to cite: Ziga-Abortta, F. R., Kruse, S., Höllermann, B., and Ntajal, J.: Stakeholder Participation in Flood-Related Disaster Risk Management in Ghana, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-10819, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu21-10819, 2021.

Martijn Kuller, Jafet Andersson, and Judit Lienert


The Horizon 2020 project FANFAR (www.fanfar.eu) aims to develop a Flood Early Warning Systems (FEWS) for West Africa. Prospective end-users of the FANFAR system include the hydrological services and emergency services of 17 countries in West Africa. Close involvement of end-users during the development phase can enhance effectiveness and usefulness of early warning systems (Reid, 2006). Therefore, FANFAR took a co-development approach between the consortium of developers and the end-users (Andersson, Ali, et al., 2020). Important vehicle for co-development are three workshops, organised over three years by the development consortium. Workshops were attended by one representative from hydrological services and one from emergency services from each country. The objectives of co-development included: tailoring to user- and context specific preferences and requirements, acquiring technical feedback on system components, enhancing user skills and capacity, building trust and ownership, enabling performance testing and enhancing system uptake.


Several strategies and interventions have been deployed to meet the objectives. Firstly, a Multi-Criteria Decision Analysis was conducted to establish the end-users’ primary objectives and system configurations to best meet these (Lienert, Andersson, & Silva Pinto, 2020). Furthermore, including the execution of regular surveys to explore user experiences with the system and receive technical feedback. Two different pen-and-paper surveys were taken during the both the second and third workshop sessions: (1) a survey exploring long-term and detailed information on usage, performance, preferences, obstacles and experience of using FANFAR and (2) a survey eliciting detailed technical feedback on separate system components. A third, shorter survey was conducted online on a monthly basis during the rainy season (May-October 2020) focussing on day-to-day operational usage and performance. Here, we summarise some main insights from these three types of surveys.


The data on user experience with the FANFAR system gathered during these interventions enabled the development team to improve the forecast system. For example, accuracy was identified as critical issue to improve. In response, the development team initiated several activities aimed at improving accuracy, including model calibration, catchment re-delineation, assimilation of local streamflow observations and EO data, and utilising alternative meteorological data (Andersson, Santos, et al., 2020).

There was an important discrepancy between the reported overwhelming intention to use FANFAR (82-93%) and the actual usage (28-46%). One reason could be related to the reported barrier posed by the initial state of the system, and the lack of accuracy mentioned above. Furthermore, priorities and resources might partly explain these numbers. However, these finding could be skewed by the changing composition of respondents between surveys, compromising their representativeness. Indeed, the user statistics of the online platform show a rise in visits. Finally, users seem to prioritise a functional system delivering daily predictions over a complex system with broad functionality.

Overall, our co-development has been a positive one. Participation has been strong and continuous, with an increasing number of organisations and their representatives partaking in workshops. In addition, participation outside the workshops (during the rainy season) was encouraging, particularly in the light of its voluntary nature.

Andersson, J., Ali, A., Arheimer, B., Crochemore, L., Gbobaniyi, B., Gustafsson, D., . . . Machefer, M. (2020). Flood forecasting and alerts in West Africa-experiences from co-developing a pre-operational system at regional scale. Paper presented at the EGU General Assembly Conference Abstracts.
Andersson, J., Santos, L., Isberg, K., Gustafsson, D., Musuuza, J., Minoungou, B., & Crochemore, L. (2020). Deliverable: D3.2 Report documenting and explaining the hydrological models. Retrieved from available at: https://fanfar.eu/resources/:
Lienert, J., Andersson, J., & Silva Pinto, F. (2020). Co-designing a flood forecasting and alert system in West Africa with decision-making methods: the transdisciplinary project FANFAR. Paper presented at the EGU General Assembly Conference Abstracts.
Reid, B. (2006). Global early warning systems for natural hazards: systematic and people-centred. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences, 364(1845), 2167-2182. doi:doi:10.1098/rsta.2006.1819

How to cite: Kuller, M., Andersson, J., and Lienert, J.: Systematic User Feedback to Co-develop a Flood Early Warning System in West Africa, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-3136, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu21-3136, 2021.

Sharlene L. Gomes, Sarah Luft, Shreya Chakraborty, Leon M. Hermans, and Carsten Butsch

This research, conducted within the H2O-T2S project, is located in peri-urban areas of three cities in India: Pune, Hyderabad, Kolkata. Peri-urban areas are where the rural to urban transition is most visible. A key challenge for peri-urban areas is sustainable management of water resources. Peri-urban water resources in India are under threat from growing water demand and ineffective institutions. Interdisciplinary research of existing water-based livelihoods, household water use, and peri-urban institutions in these three regions shows that current urban transformations are unsustainable. Given the dynamic nature of peri-urban contexts, short and long-term vulnerabilities must be considered. An adaptation policy pathways approach can help peri-urban actors develop longer-term transformative plans. This study describes the design and execution of a participatory process to design context-specific pathways with peri-urban communities and governments in India.

This presentation outlines the key steps in our customized pathways approach for the peri-urban context. Due to the covid-19 pandemic, initial plans to implement these steps through a series of stakeholder workshops were replaced by remote pathways design using the Delphi method. We present a step-by-step methodology to engage peri-urban actors in the design of longer-term adaptive plans for water resources in the future. Results are presented for Hadia village (Kolkata), one of the three peri-urban case studies. It reveals the range of future normative scenarios developed for this village and a pathways schematic towards these scenarios.

Our results demonstrate the value of engaging local actors in the design of adaptive plans for peri-urban water resources. This study offers insights for ways to conduct transdisciplinary research even when face to face interactions are not feasible.

How to cite: Gomes, S. L., Luft, S., Chakraborty, S., Hermans, L. M., and Butsch, C.: Transdisciplinary Design of Adaptation Pathways in Peri-urban India: Planning for Water Needs in a Sustainable Urban Transition , EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-13276, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu21-13276, 2021.

Ermy Brok, Judith Floor, Frank van Lamoen, and Angelique Lansu

The question ‘how scale matters’ from experienced policy makers in adaptive water management motivated us to explore the issue. In search for climate resilience of brook catchments stakeholders collaborate. Those collaborations involve dynamic proximity, giving rise to innovative, creative solutions using natural hydrological and landscape processes. Dynamic proximity is known from innovation research in the field of high-tech regional economic development. The question is whether dynamic proximity among stakeholders influences success of joint knowledge production (JKP) processes as well. We focus on a more nature-tech context of regional economic development: creating nature-based solutions (NbS) to support climate resilience. The conceptual model to study the creative process of JKP combines the four dimensions of JKP with four forms of dynamic proximity. Along this matrix quotes of stakeholders were analysed from seven semi-structured interviews. At least one stakeholder in the process for the brook-restoration of the Aa (the Netherlands) was selected from industry, academia, government and non-profit organizations (following the ‘quadruple helix model’). Findings show that stakeholders who are versatile in using various forms of social, cognitive, institutional and geographical dynamic proximity in the process of JKP experience the process as more successful. Moreover, stakeholders overdoing the institutional or geographical aspects of proximity run into adverse effects, a mechanism recognized in economic geography as the proximity paradox. Furthermore, stakeholders are better supported when they use knowledge instruments, but only when keeping in mind the balance of forms of dynamic proximity. Findings were validated against two stakeholders’ experiences in another process for the Aa of Weerijs (the Netherlands). We suggest refining the model by adding two forms of dynamic proximity relating to interests and to resources, enabling a sharper focus on knowledge production under the heading of cognitive proximity. So, scale matters in such rural, natural processes. The perspective on proximity helps innovation, if proximity among stakeholders does not become too proximate. We have summarised findings in the form of a proximity tool, which is useful for optimizing the science-policy interface in regional adaptive water management.

How to cite: Brok, E., Floor, J., van Lamoen, F., and Lansu, A.: How scale matters in joint knowledge production for nature-based solutions. Dynamic proximity among stakeholders in climate adaptive water management for brook catchment Aa, the Netherlands, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-8514, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu21-8514, 2021.

Giuseppe Ricciardi, Alessandro Allodi, Fabio Bordini, Monica Branchi, Francesco Cogliandro, Elisa Comune, Valentina dell'Aquila, Mauro Del Longo, Giuseppe Nicolosi, Mauro Noberini, Filippo Pizzera, Fabrizio Tonelli, and Franca Tugnoli

Water is very important for human consumption, production and services and also for inspiration, recreation, landscapes, ecosystems and wild life. UN and EU policies highlights the interaction of historical scientific, economic, societal and environmental factors and the linkage of water policies with biodiversity protection and Climate Change adaptation.  According to the European Green Deal (2019), for a fair and prosperous society, with a modern, resource-efficient and competitive economy working across sectors and disciplines, will be needed, also involving local communities. Moreover Political and management processes may take benefits from specific participatory Tools.

The Emilia-Romagna Regional Agency for Prevention, Environment and Energy (Arpae) helps sustainability developing  actions for water protection, water use, flood management and education to sustainability.  

Arpae Hydrological Service (HS) supports flood management and water management, as also design and management of hydraulic structures, through the Flood Early Warning System FEWS and  the Drought Early Warning System DEWS. Arpae HS also collect and publish hydrological time series (water, solid transport) and stage-discharge equations.

Within FP7 Enhance (2017) multi risk analysis and Public Private Partnership (PPPs) experiences were supported by  modeling tools combining flood /earthquake/Climate Change scenarios in a densely populated, highly developed land reclamation territory. An Application of the System for Economic and Environmental Accounting for Water (UN SEEA -Water) was developed in 2017. Within Interreg Proline-CE (2019), the FEWS and DEWS Systems, respectively supporting the Flood Forecasting Center and the Observatory on Water Uses, were proposed as Best Management Practices (BMPs) for land and water management useful for drinking water protection. BMPs where tested through workshops, questionnaires,  meetings and technical visits, useful for dissemination and  stakeholders involvement. H2020 Clara was useful to experience co-design/co-development approaches, to explore market segments and business models for water knowledge and climate services, and to set dedicated Policy Briefs for Water and Climate Change Adaptation; Arpae HS developed a set of modeling services  (Clara PWA) related to water management, solid transport, water quality and habitat availability, useful to understand the  influenced of climate change and the needs and proposal coming from market and  the institutions. Interreg boDEREC-CE is a current project on pharmaceutical and personal care pollutants (PPCPs), aimed at developing tools and strategies for protection of drinking water, water ecosystems and public health from pollution, bacterial resistance, toxicity and pathogens.

Arpae HS through these experiences has gained awareness of the inter linkage of hydrology with other sectors (economy, Earth sciences, ICT, health, ecology, society) and of the importance of developing specific decision support tools maximizing stakeholder participation, societal dissemination, transparency, education to sustainability and experts involvement.

How to cite: Ricciardi, G., Allodi, A., Bordini, F., Branchi, M., Cogliandro, F., Comune, E., dell'Aquila, V., Del Longo, M., Nicolosi, G., Noberini, M., Pizzera, F., Tonelli, F., and Tugnoli, F.: Hydrology across disciplines: the experience of a Public Hydrological Service in Italy, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-7288, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu21-7288, 2021.

Remi Barbier and Isabelle Charpentier

Models and simulations have become essential elements of water management in catchments (Chong, 2019). This raises the question of confidence in the models. We are interested in the criteria used to judge their quality and the way in which the uncertainties inherent to modelling are taken into account and explained throughout the process. 

Our communication is based on the results of one interdisciplinary research project on modelling developed in the framework of Flood Risk Prevention Plans (FRPP). In a nutshell, FRPPs are regulatory documents elaborated under the responsibility of the State. They are then imposed to local urban planning regulations. Their elaboration is based on the modelling of the flood hazard.

We formulate the problem of trust from the perspective of the State services. The latter entrust consulting firms with the implementation of hazard modeling, which (generally) benefit from a strong asymmetry of skills in their favour. Based on a survey conducted in several government departments, we analyze the practice of ordering, piloting and validating these models. The question posed is the following: "how are guaranties of quality and suitability forged and assessed in flood risk modelling?" We review the different stages of the process, from the writting of the specifications to the final validation of the results, including the multiple interactions throughout the work.  



How to cite: Barbier, R. and Charpentier, I.: How are guaranties of quality forged and assessed in flood risk modelling ?, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-5609, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu21-5609, 2021.

Annie-Claude Parent, Frédéric Fournier, François Anctil, Brian Morse, Jean-Philippe Baril-Boyer, and Pascal Marceau

Spring floods have generated colossal damages to residential areas in the Province of Quebec, Canada, in 2017 and 2019. Government authorities need accurate modelling of the impact of theoretical floods in order to prioritize pre-disaster mitigation projects to reduce vulnerability. They also need accurate modelling of forecasted floods in order to direct emergency responses. 

We present a governmental-academic collaboration that aims at modelling flood impact for both theoretical and forecasted flooding events over all populated river reaches of meridional Quebec. The project, funded by the ministère de la Sécurité publique du Québec (Quebec ministry in charge of public security), consists in developing a diagnostic tool and methods to assess the risk and impacts of flooding. Tools under development are intended to be used primarily by policy makers. 

The project relies on water level data based on the hydrological regimes of nearly 25,000 km of rivers, on high-precision digital terrain models, and on a detailed database of building footprints and characterizations. It also relies on 24h and 48h forecasts of maximum flow for the subject rivers. The developed tools integrate large data sets and heterogeneous data sources and produce insightful metrics on the physical extent and costs of floods and on their impact on the population. The software also provides precise information about each building affected by rising water, including an estimated cost of the damages and impact on inhabitants.  

How to cite: Parent, A.-C., Fournier, F., Anctil, F., Morse, B., Baril-Boyer, J.-P., and Marceau, P.: Development of interactive diagnostic tools and metrics for the socio-economic consequences of floods, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-8060, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu21-8060, 2021.

Nick van de Giesen, Rolf Hut, and Niels Drost and the Netherlands eScience Centre

Building the tools to speed up the policy design cycle: letting policy makers work with hydrologic models themselves through eWaterCycle


Hydrologists are important experts that policy makers rely on when making water related decisions. Through policy briefs, often including scenario simulations, policy makers are informed about the consequences their (intended) policies (or lack thereof) will have.


In drafting policy briefs, or choosing which scenario to run, scientists inevitably make political decisions, from obvious ones (how to weigh the importance of one land use type over another) to more hidden ones (using Kling-Gupta efficiency, which focuses more on low flow, to calibrate a model instead of Nash-sutcliffe efficiency, which focuses more on high flows). Ideally one wants to design the policymaker - scientist interaction such that most political decisions are made by the policymaker, without requiring her/him to become an expert hydrologist in the process. Any remaining (inevitable) decisions made by the hydrologist should be as transparent as possible.


The eWaterCyle hydrologic research platform facilitates this type of policy maker - hydrologists interaction. Within the platform experiments such as scenario runs are Jupyter notebooks that a governmental data-scientist can construct without having to be an expert in the hydrological models used: these are stored in (OPEN and FAIR) containers. Interactive web applications  can be easily built on top of these notebooks using widgets, to allow the ultimate political decision maker to explore a broader range of policy options, instead of having to choose from a view of pre-run scenarios. 


We will present a few examples of how the eWaterCycle hydrological research platform can be used to support water-relevant policy decision making.

How to cite: van de Giesen, N., Hut, R., and Drost, N. and the Netherlands eScience Centre: Building the tools to speed up the policy design cycle: letting policy makers work with hydrologic models themselves through eWaterCycle, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-10056, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu21-10056, 2021.

Christa Nooy, Schuyler Houser, Reza Pramana, Astria Nugrahany, Daru Rini, and Maurits Ertsen

Interconnected processes of IWRM demand involvement of many stakeholders negotiating a variety of competing interests and goals in agenda-setting, formulation, implementation, and evaluation. These processes – and the decision taken therein – naturally involve a wide variety of data inputs. But in many contexts, available data are partial or analytically insufficient; utilization is low due to inattention to user needs; key data are not readily available; or generated evidence is scientifically rigorous but poorly matched with the most relevant policy questions. These conditions nudge policy systems towards “knowledge creep,” “decision accretion,” and “policy layering.”

The participatory turn in water governance presents an additional set of opportunities and demands. Committees, consultative groups, coordinating bodies, and citizen science programs engage a broad array of actors in knowledge co-production and consumption for water resource decisions. Expansion of the knowledge and decision network introduces valuable new data but also new considerations regarding the use of data, practicalities of data aggregation, and how data should be combined and disseminated to meet various user needs and minimize “information overload.”

This research examines how standard chemical water quality data, participatory citizen science outputs, and other qualitative data are currently used in policy decisions regarding water quality management in the Brantas River Basin in Indonesia, where decisions are undertaken in highly consultative settings. Initial findings via interviews with key users suggest that there is space to extend the use of scientific data and citizen science outputs for decision support and public information. Chemical water quality data is considered legitimate yet partial, not easily interpreted by decision-makers in tabular form, and insufficient to inform some policy decisions, including those related to solid waste and industrial pollution. Citizen science outputs, on the other hand, are recognized to serve important educational purposes but are not actively used to inform policy. Moreover, water quality conditions are not immediately apparent to decision-makers and citizens with respect to seasonal fluctuations and variations across the upper and lower reaches.

This exploratory study also tests a co-productive approach to constructing, testing, and revising a digital Water Quality dashboard to improve the uptake and interpretability of data, identify data gaps, and offer decision-makers and other stakeholders a usable overview of conditions. The iterative process involves systematic and participative appraisal of decision support needs and constraints; collation of disparate hydrologic data sets to test integration and visualization alternatives and identify sampling gaps; inclusion of citizen science and textual data; and testing of visualization and dissemination alternatives for various uses. Citizen-science data will include water quality and biomonitoring data, micro-plastics analysis, and geo-tagged data on sources of pollution. Data dissemination alternatives are to be iteratively evaluated and revised based on criteria of policy and educational relevance, interpretability, and feasibility of data maintenance.

How to cite: Nooy, C., Houser, S., Pramana, R., Nugrahany, A., Rini, D., and Ertsen, M.: Coproducing a water quality dashboard: Data communication for decision support in the Brantas River basin, Indonesia, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-15281, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu21-15281, 2021.

George Karatzas, Anthi-Eirini Vozinaki, Ioannis Trichakis, Ioanna Anyfanti, Christina Stylianoydaki, Emmanouil Varouchakis, Christos Goumas, Pier Paolo Roggero, Thuraya Mellah, Hanene Akrout, and Seifeddine Jomaa

This work carries the social learning process out via Living Labs in order to construct a common vision on sustainable groundwater management. In this process, the scientific and local knowledge are integrated. This study is part of Sustain-COAST project co-funded by PRIMA programme. Stakeholders’ active engagement is realized via Living Labs, which are participatory actions that encourage the dialogue among private and public actors, create institutionalized space for discussion and vision sharing, and analyze the stakeholder-suggested mitigation options.

A stakeholder mapping took place, that is  the list of all the key groups, organizations, and people involved to water management in the study area. Further analysis was carried out to better understand stakeholders’ roles and perspectives, within the first Living Lab, organized in Malia. 55 stakeholders interacted gathered, including water users, policy makers, local and regional authorities, water management and supply associations, socio-ecological and cultural associations, NGOs, citizens, technicians, external experts, scientists.

Stakeholders got involved in social learning actions, knowing each other, expressed their motivations and expectations to participate in the first Living Lab and the project. Afterwards, a participatory session followed by implementing digital ICT tools (Mentimeter App.), which is an opinion survey technique that might improve societal awareness and stakeholders’ active engagement in water management. Afterwards, an interactive participatory map activity took place, which enabled the study site’s characterization according to key-stakeholders’ perception, knowledge, and expertise on water management issues in the area. Stakeholders collaborated in groups and filled maps of the study area with significant spatial data and information. Participants were asked to express their common vision on Malia in an entertaining puzzle activity.

The aforementioned interactive sessions enabled the extraction of the raised water issues in Malia as well as the suggestion of possible options . The need for sustainable and balanced development taking into account principles of law and equal accessibility for all was specifically noted by stakeholders. Stakeholders evaluated the Living Labs as an innovative interactive and interesting way of exchanging views among institutions and citizens, through participation and technological means. Living Labs are expected to provide significant information exchange among institutions and actors and provide realistic and socially acceptable suggestions for the local community.

Stakeholders are directly involved and motivated to maintain their active engagement in a long-lasting process via future Living Labs in Malia. Such actions increase governance capacity by addressing people’s skills in jointly decision-making and engaging stakeholders in a social learning process through participation. Actions that encourage dialogue among different actors and use innovative mediation techniques form the best options to improve and integrate water governance.


Keywords: Living Labs; Innovative governance; Water resources management; Stakeholder mapping; Social learning processes; Stakeholders’ engagement


The PRIMA programme is an Art.185 initiative supported and funded under Horizon 2020, the European Union’s Programme for Research and Innovation.

The project is funded by the General Secretariat for Research and Technology of the Ministry of Development and Investments under the PRIMA Programme. PRIMA is an Art.185 initiative supported and co-funded under Horizon 2020, the European Union’s Programme for Research and Innovation.

How to cite: Karatzas, G., Vozinaki, A.-E., Trichakis, I., Anyfanti, I., Stylianoydaki, C., Varouchakis, E., Goumas, C., Roggero, P. P., Mellah, T., Akrout, H., and Jomaa, S.: Living Labs towards sustainable groundwater management: case study in Malia, Crete, Greece, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-7941, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu21-7941, 2021.