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

Alba Ballester, Kelly - Mott Lacroix

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

13 Scopus citations


The benefits of public participation in water management are recognized by governments, scholars, and stakeholders. These benefits, however, do not result from all engagement endeavors. This leads to the question: What are the determinants for effective public participation? Given a list of criteria for achieving the transformational capacity of participation, we analyze the benefits (including the influence on public policies) gained through public participation and the determinant factors for obtaining these benefits in the Ebro River Basin in Spain and in the Tucson Basin in Arizona (U.S.). Furthermore, and considering that droughts and floods are major water management challenges in both case studies, we focus on the potential of participation to build adaptive capacity. Our analysis of these case studies concludes that influence on public policies is determined more by the context of the participatory process, i.e., legal framework, political leadership, and social awareness, whereas influence on adaptive capacity building depends more on the characteristics of the participatory process, particularly the existence of active on-site consultation and deliberation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number273
JournalWater (Switzerland)
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 1 2016



  • Adaptive capacity
  • Public participation
  • Stakeholder engagement
  • Water management

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Biochemistry
  • Aquatic Science
  • Water Science and Technology

Cite this