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public values in river basin management

Public Values in River Basin Management
artikel vakblad

Steenhuisen, B.M.; W.M. Dicke; H.M. Weening; J. Schoot-Uiterkamp; L. Runia and G. Rovers: Public Values in River Basin Management. In AG.den Os (Ed.), Proceedings NCR-days 2005 (pp. 14). Zwijndrecht: Netherlands Centre for River Studies.

Willemijn Dicke
Geert Roovers
Bauke Steenhuisen

River management serves several interests, e.g. protection against flooding, environmental interests, shipping etc. Some of these interests are labelled as ‘public values’ and government feels responsible for safeguarding these values. Both the designation of public values and the way they are being safeguarded differs from country to country. Considering the wide variety of values, both in scope, in hierarchy and impact, different interests ask for different approaches in the way they are safeguarded. Safeguarding will even become more complex since some of these values are in conflict with each other. The inherently international nature of safeguarding public values in river basin management will furthermore increase the complexity of prioritising public values.
Last decades show several cases in which safeguarding of public values and tradeoff’s between them have not been dealt with carefully such as the realisation of some urban areas in riverbeds (Nijmegen, Roermond), causing a decrease of discharge capacity of the river, or the deepening of the Western Scheldt for shipping, causing a severe decline of ecological values in this estuary.
The need for institutional arrangements that can guarantee safeguarding and prioritising different public values is furthermore increased by uncertain developments in climate and a growing pressure on river basins due to human influence, related to environmental, social en economical sustainability in delta areas like the Netherlands. Recent flooding problems (Elbe and Donau in recent year’s, throughout Europe) increase this importance. Within the framework of the Bsikprogramme Public Values, Delft University of Technology and Oranjewoud consultants and engineers, started a survey to investigate the institutional arrangements that can safeguard different public values within river basins. The Ministry of Transport, Public Works and Watermanagement supports the survey. The survey started in 2004, and will be finished in 2006.

At the NCRdays we can show the theoretical framework and provide the first results from the river basin management cases. The first general conclusions on public values in riverbasins will be presented.

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