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Aquarious Participatory Planning

Research Funding Body

The European Regional Development Fund


Schaafsma, R and van Os, B.L.J

Project Objectives

To find and implement sustainable, integrated land-water management through engaging with land managers.

Why relevant to improve implementation and uptake of water quality measures?

The project is relevant as it considers farmers decision making to understand how to engage them to implement water management features in their land. This particular part of the project focuses particularly on how to approach farmers and work with them regarding water quality and quantity issues.


This document was created based on various activities of the project which include contributions from all the participants in the Aquarius project

Key Results

Water management plans / adaptation at local scale

  • An important aspect is to use geographical specializations so that local farmers and local advisors work together. Education program (for farmers, advisors and authorities) to spread and scale down knowledge from national or EU-level project will be important.
  • Water management plans at farm level should be used as a tool to obtain a cost efficient combination of measures in areas where the water does not reach good ecological status according to the Water Framework Directive. Water management plans must be flexible, and not general. Plans should have a firm connection to local issues.
  • Action should be shared by authorities and farmers at the local scale. Authorities have to promote praxis and dialogue. Which water management tasks that can be performed by farmers also depend on the characteristics of an area. Who is responsible for water management, which water management problem need to be solved, what are the possibilities (e.g. space, land price) to solve the problem? The answers on these questions determine the design of a water management measure, such as the flexibility, size or type of measure.

Knowledge based communication

  • Two way communication is as always important. Advisory organisations as well as authorities should respond to farmers initiatives to communication and/or solutions to specific problems. Justification for different measures must be well documented and scientifically sound. Preferably aims and goals should be illustrated and understandable in terms of benefits for the community and the environment. Demonstration sites and other means of visualization of concepts/goals are very important for mutual understanding.
  • It is also important that authorities and advisory organisations coordinate information given to farmers. Multiple and diverging messages will lead to confusion lack of trust. Avoid different messages from different directives and EU directives should have been checked prior to any suggested measures taken.
  • Profitable / win-win (use the problem wheel to verify profitability).
  • Influence policymakers to make environmental programmes realistically accessible and financial viable for the farmers. Measures should at least be cost neutral or better.
  • Examples from Sweden: subsidies to farmers for constructed wetlands as environmental tool, giving increased biodiversity and reduced eutrophication at the same time as it can be used as irrigation by the farmer.



Contact Person

Keith Matthews (

More Information

Project Information
Project Type: 
Active Project


Areas of Interest

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The James Hutton Research Institute is the result of the merger in April 2011 of MLURI and SCRI. This merger formed a new powerhouse for research into food, land use, and climate change.