Factsheet #36

Citizen engagement

Instrument Type


Governance Level


Governance Mode


Water management topics addressed

Drought & water scarcity
Water abstraction for irrigation and other economic activities
Water quality issues due to nutrient pollution
Water quality issues: Other reasons

Implementation requirements

Financial capacity


Human capacity


Political buy-in


Timeframe for implementation


#36: Citizen engagement


The involvement of local actors and citizens is key for managing rivers in a sustainable way, better co-ordinating public action across levels of government and reducing conflicts at the local level.


Widening public participation is seen as a means to increase transparency of environmental policies and citizens’ compliance with it. Transparency in the establishment of objectives, the imposition of measures and the reporting of standards is seen to empower citizens to influence the direction of environmental protection.

Example: Mechanisms for public participation in the Ebro Basin planning process.

Complying with the provision of the EU Water Framework Directive, which encourages an active involvement of all interested parties for its implementation (Art. 14), The Ebro's river basin organization integrated as part of its decision-making process the information to the general public about the planning process and its contents. Access to information has been improved through the distribution of documents in digital and printed format. Channels for consultations have been opened as well: opportunities to submit written comments on the management as well as a participatory meetings for informal participation of different economic and administrative sectors were made available. These practices resulted in a noticeable improvement of the public visibility of the planning process.


Ballester A., Mott Lacroix K. (2016). Public Participation in Water Planning in the Ebro River Basin (Spain) and Tucson Basin (U.S., Arizona): Impact on Water Policy and Adaptive Capacity Building. Water, 8(7), 273. (pp. 10, 11)

Already have an account? Login!