Public participation and transparency in water management
ABSTRACT: Public participation is broadly considered to have a positive impact on the quality of governance. Transparency is the first step in the public participation ladder since it implies that people have access to the necessary information to make informed contributions to decision-making. This chapter gives an overview of the main challenges for the Spanish water sector in terms of public participation in the water planning process of the Water Framework Directive (WFD), and presents results of an assessment of information transparency of the Spanish water authorities. Although the WFD has contributed to improving the situation, in Spain the tradition of public accessibility to data and public participation in water management decisions is still rather poor. In addition to making all relevant information publicly available, the most compelling challenge is possibly ensuring its reliability and consistency. Another key issue is making the information accessible to different target audiences by adapting it to their level of interest and technical capacity.