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The Rönneå Catchment Dialogues were developed as a multipurpose methodology to enable stakeholder-oriented, interdisciplinary research. This article describes the background of the Catchment Dialogues and their multiple aims and evaluates the Dialogue design. The three parallel objectives that were expected from the Catchment Dialogues were that they would function as a method to i) collect qualitative research data, ii) promote the involvement of stakeholders in water management, and iii) offer a practical example to enable integration of disciplines. Drawing on experiences from similar research or stakeholder-involvement projects using focus groups and similar techniques, this article assesses how the research aim was fulfilled and how the balance between fulfilling different objectives was struck. It reflects on Catchment Dialogues as a fruitful research method for answering our research questions, specifically focusing on the “new” design features, i.e. heterogeneous groups, structured interviews (long hours), and external moderation. Conclusions show that Catchment Dialogues was a useful approach for achieving VASTRA's multiple purposes.
The European Water Framework Directive puts strong emphasis on stakeholder and public participation in water management. Several practical questions regarding who should be involved, why, when, and how still remain unanswered. This paper investigates stakeholders' own experiences and views of increased public participation in water management. The article also explores the potential for increasing levels of participation by forming catchment committees with representation from stakeholder groups and through the use of various practical methods for participation. For both these aspects of participation, the views, expectations, and apprehensions of different stakeholder groups involved in nutrient loss management are investigated. Stakeholder opinions were collected by inviting representatives from five stakeholder groups within the Rönneå catchment in southern Sweden to a catchment dialog process.
The key objective of the European Water Framework Directive (WFD) is to promote sustainable water use by protecting water resources. Here, we investigate how the economic consequences of a set of water management regulations is received by a group of stakeholders in the Rönneå catchment. We explore three themes from an economic point of view: i) perceived causes of eutrophication, ii) preferences regarding water use, and iii) the extent to which the polluter-pays principle should be applied. There is a common understanding about the intentions in the WFD to enhance cost-effective water use. All stakeholder groups largely share a similar picture of the causes of water quality deterioration. However, there is not one cost-effective and fair solution. Several mixes of remedial measures within the same catchment are possible, depending on the scale of action. Despite potential economic gains from cooperation between sectors, the participants regard the individual polluter-pays principle as the most feasible mode of funding for remedial programs, supported by subsidies. There is little demand for more market institutions (emission fees, tradable emission permits). The stakeholders have a conservative view of water management, i.e. they accept the present combination of regulations and economic incentives, and they are fully aware of the complexity of the issue. In general, the WFD recommendations for the calculation of cost-effective abatement strategies seem to imply an underestimation of the value of external effects in the decision-making process.
The objective of this study was to increase the knowledge of local stakeholders' acceptance of model-generated data when used as a communication tool in water quality management. The Rönneå catchment in the southwest of Sweden was chosen as the study area. The results indicate the model-generated data served as a uniting factor. Simultaneously, the stakeholders were concerned with presented data, the main problems being sources of pollution, which were not accounted for, lack of trustworthiness when measuring pollution, and the uncertainty of the impact of natural variation and delayed effects. Four clusters of factors were identified as influencing stakeholders' acceptance of the model-generated data: confidence in its practical applications, confidence in the people involved in or providing material for the dialog (such as experts, decision-makers, and media), the social characteristics of the participants (such as age and profession), and the way of communicating the data (such as tone of communication, group composition, duration, and geographical scope of the dialog). The perception of the fairness of the practical application of given model-generated data was also an important factor for acceptance.
A hydrological-based model (HBV-NP) was applied to a catchment (1900 km2) in the southern part of Sweden. Careful characterization of the present load situation and the potential for improved treatment or reduced soil leaching were analyzed. Several scenarios were modeled to find strategies to reach the Swedish environmental goals of reducing anthropogenic nitrogen load by 30% and phosphorus load by 20%. It was stated that the goals could be reached by different approaches that would affect different polluters and social sectors. However, no single measure was enough by itself. Instead, a combination of measures was necessary to achieve the goals. The nitrogen goal was the most difficult to attain. In order to be cost-effective, these measures should be applied to areas contributing the most to the net loading of the sea. This strategy could reduce the costs by 70%–80% when compared with implementing the measures in the entire catchment. Integrated catchment models may thus be helpful tools for reducing costs in environmental control programs.
The dynamic catchment model HBV-N has been further developed by adding routines for phosphorus transport and is now called the HBV-NP model. The model was shown to satisfactorily simulate nutrient dynamics in the Rönneå catchment (1 900 km2). Its sensitivity to input data was tested, and results demonstrated the increased sensitivity to the selection of input data on a subcatchment scale when compared with the catchment scale. Selection of soil and land use databases was found to be critical in some subcatchments but did not have a significant impact on a catchment scale. Although acceptable on a catchment scale, using templates and generalization, with regards to emissions from point sources and rural households, significantly decreased model performance in certain subcatchments when compared with using more detailed local information. A division into 64 subcatchments resulted in similar model performance at the catchment outlet when compared with a lumped approach. Adjusting the imported matrixes of the regional leaching of nitrogen, from agricultural land, against mean subcatchment water percolation did not have a significant impact on the model performance.
The HBV-NP model is a newly developed water quality model that describes the turnover and fluxes of both nitrogen and phosphorous. It is based on the conceptual precipitation/runoff HBV model. The HBV-NP model was applied for simulation of nitrogen for the Rönneå catchment in southern Sweden. The catchment was divided into 64 subcatchments in the model. Discharge measurements from six stations and nitrogen measurements from 12 stations were used in the calibration of parameters in the model. Eight automatic calibrations were performed with different combinations of time periods, objective functions, and levels of the nitrogen load in the model. A regionally extended interpretation of the Nash-Sutcliffe R2 criterion was used in the calibration. In the evaluation of the criterion, the errors were summed over both time steps and sampling points. Scenario simulations of combined measures for reduction of nitrogen load into the sea by 30% were thereafter performed with the eight sets of parameters established by calibration. The model parameters were not uniquely defined by the calibration. However, the simulated relative reduction of nitrogen load into the sea was relatively insensitive to the choice of parameter set, given the available input sources, variables, and data.
The EU Water Framework Directive will require river-basin management plans in order to achieve good ecological status and find the most cost-efficient nitrogen (N) leaching abatement measures. Detailed scenario calculations based on modeling methods will be valuable in this regard. This paper describes the approach and an application with a coefficient method based on the simulation model SOILNDB for quantification of N leaching from arable land and for prediction of the effect of abatement scenarios for the Rönneå catchment (1900 km2) in southern Sweden. Cost calculations for the different measures were also performed. The results indicate that the individual measures—cover crop and spring plowing, late termination of ley and fallow, and spring application of manure—would only reduce N leaching by between 5% and 8%. If all measures were combined and winter crops replaced by their corresponding spring variants, a 21% reduction in N leaching would be possible. However, this would require total fulfillment of the suggested measures.
In southern Sweden, wetlands are constructed to remove nitrogen (N) in agricultural catchments. The possible effects of such wetlands on riverine phosphorus (P) were also estimated using input–output data from three well-monitored wetlands. This was done to formulate a simple model for removal of P that is dependent on inflow characteristics. Next, the N- and P-reducing effects of wetlands were modeled on a catchment scale (1900 km2) using the HBV-NP model and various assumptions about the wetland area and location. All three wetlands functioned as sinks for total P (tot-P) and for total suspended solids (TSS) with a removal of 10% to 31% and 28% to 50%, respectively. Mean P-removal rates of 17–49 kg ha−1 yr−1 were well simulated with the model. Catchment scale simulations indicated that wetlands were more efficient (in percentage of load) as traps for P than for N and that this may motivate the construction of wetlands for P removal far upstream from the catchment outlet.
The response of a biogeochemical lake model (BIOLA) to different eutrophication management actions has been studied in a eutrophic lake. Management actions included in the study were nutrient load reduction, sediment manipulation, biomanipulation, and herbicide application. The model was used to simulate nutrient and biomass concentrations in the lake during the 1990s. During the same period, management scenarios were also simulated. Several ecological parameters were calibrated to better simulate the behavior of the chosen lake, but there were still some difficulties with phosphate. This indicated that further model development is necessary. The most favorable development within the lake was found for scenarios with nutrient load reduction and biomanipulation through planktivorous fish reduction. Reducing both the nitrogen and phosphorus loads had a greater effect on the lake's water quality than simply reducing just one of the nutrients.
Starting from six regional climate change scenarios, nitrogen leaching from arable-soil, water discharge, and nitrogen retention was modeled in the Rönneå catchment. Additionally, biological response was modeled in the eutrophic Lake Ringsjön. The results are compared with similar studies on other catchments. All scenarios gave similar impact on water quality but varied in quantities. However, one scenario resulted in a different transport pattern due to less-pronounced seasonal variations in the hydrology. On average, the study shows that, in a future climate, we might expect: i) increased concentrations of nitrogen in the arable root zone ( 50%) and in the river ( 13%); ii) increased annual load of nitrogen from land to sea ( 22%) due to more pronounced winter high flow; moreover, remote areas in the catchment may start to contribute to the outlet load; iii) radical changes in lake biochemistry with increased concentrations of total phosphorus ( 50%), total nitrogen ( 20%), and planktonic algae such as cyanobacteria ( 80%).
Dealing with uncertainty and complexity in social-ecological systems is profoundly dependent on the ability of natural resource users to learn and adapt from ecological surprises and crises. This paper analyzes why and how learning processes are affected by strategic behavior among natural resource users and how social conflict is affected by social and ecological uncertainty. The claim is that social conflict among natural resource users seriously inhibits the possibilities of learning and adaptation in social-ecological systems. This is done combining insights from political science, experimental economics, and social-psychology and an analytical case study elaborating social conflict and institutional change in Swedish water management institutions. This paper also discusses the crucial role the institutional context plays in defining the outcome of learning processes in Swedish water management institutions and hence highlights previously poorly elaborated political aspects of learning processes and institutional change in social-ecological systems.
The composite market design is a proposal for a transferable discharge permit system that specifically includes agricultural non-point-source dischargers and addresses both property rights and transaction cost problems. The first step to implementation of a composite market scheme is the estimation of a supply curve for abatement measures in the catchment area. Estimation is performed by combining costs with modeled loss reductions from selected best management practices and then using this information to estimate the supply curve for abatement, which in turn can then be used to set permit prices. The Rönneå catchment in southern Sweden is used as a pilot study area for making this type of estimate. Costs for existing measures that reduce nutrient losses from farmland (catch crops and spring planting) are based on existing programs financed by the Swedish Agricultural Board. A set of supply curves is calculated for these measures using retention estimates for seven subcatchments and three soil types in the area. Although existing information is sufficient to calculate partial supply curves and may be used to set permit prices, additional measures should be included as well as an increased number of variables for differentiating site specific reduction costs.