Networked Environments for Stakeholder Participation in Water Resources and Flood Management: UNESCO-IHE PhD Thesis

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Stakeholders' lack of awareness, involvement and participation in the planning and management of water resources and flood risk often creates problems in the acceptance and implementation of proposed measures. Interactions among stakeholders and decision makers build awareness, trust, enhance cooperation and negotiation for best possible measures. The main challenge in stakeholder participation is maintaining the participatory process. Stakeholders' spatial distribution, limitation of financial resources and diverse stakeholders' interest (even opposed) are some of the hindrances in maintaining the participatory process. Addressing these challenges and hindrances, this research developed and implemented three frameworks for developing Networked Environments for Stakeholder Participation (NESPs). Networked environments are web-based computer-aided or mobile environments for remote virtual interaction between participating entities such as stakeholders. NESPs are envisioned to enable stakeholder participation by providing sharing of information, planning, negotiating and decision support. NESPs were implemented in five real case studies (1) Lakes of Noord-Brabant, The Netherlands, (2) Danube river (Braila-Isaccea section), Romania, (3) Somes Mare catchment, Romania, (4) Cranbrook catchment, London and (5) Alster catchment, Hamburg, Germany. The overall results of the research show that networked environments can address the challenges and hindrances in stakeholder participation and enhance participation in water resources and flood management.