Integrating science and governance for catchment management
Investigation of innovative catchment management programmes in the USA, Australia, and north-west Europe, including UK implementation of the EU Water Framework Directive, illustrate both successes, and unresolved tensions between top-down regulation and participatory-collaborative catchment management. A ‘template’ for catchment governance has been derived which assimilates scientific understanding and governance procedures. The framework is informed by both comparative analysis of international experience and piloting of approaches in two English catchments.
The complexity, temporal and spatial scales, dynamics and inevitable trade-offs of catchment management necessitate an adaptive management cycle, collaboration between agencies and levels of government and a ‘twin-track’ of deliberative partner and stakeholder engagement supported by targeted scientific research. Deliberation with partner organizations and other stakeholders can integrate environmental and public health criteria with economic and social goals. Stakeholders can contribute to catchment assessments and programme design, and implementation will be enhanced by local knowledge, acceptance and ownership.