Stakeholder participation in modelling for integrated catchment assessment and management: An Australian case study

L. T.H. Newham, A. J. Jakeman, R. A. Letcher

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    12 Citations (Scopus)


    This paper addresses issues of participation in the development of integrated assessment and modelling approaches in catchment management, drawing on lessons from an Australian case study in the management of diffuse source pollutants in the Ben Chifley Dam catchment of south-eastern Australia. In discussing the nature and outcomes of the interactions with catchment managers and the catchment community, particular emphasis is given to activities associated with the development of a scenario-based modelling tool that enables users to evaluate the biophysical and economic trade-offs associated with a range of potential management changes. The case study demonstrates the extent to which the development of models and software can provide a focus for communication between researchers, catchment managers and the catchment community. Benefits of the participatory activities included: (i) ensuring that the research addressed the primary concerns of catchment stakeholders, (ii) improving the flow of information between researchers and catchment stakeholders, and (iii) fostering cross-agency collaboration. However, there were substantial resources required for participatory activities; these were initially underestimated. Features of the participatory processes which contributed to their success included: (i) early identification of the need for participatory activities and their continuation over the course of the case study (ii) incorporating a broad range of catchment stakeholders in participatory activities, (iii) tailoring participatory activities to specific groups of catchment stakeholders, and (iv) gaining the higher level support of local management organisations. Improvements to the process which were identified included reducing the reliance on a single management organisation and establishing an ‘exit strategy’ in the initial planning of the case study.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)79-91
    Number of pages13
    JournalInternational Journal of River Basin Management
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - Jun 2007


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