Public participation and institutional inertia in water management in Spain

Josep Espluga, Alba Ballester, Nuria Hernández-Mora, Joan Subirats

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


The public participation processes that are taking place in Spain as a result of the implementation of the Water Framework Directive (WFD) constitutes an important step forward toward the democratization of water management in Spain. Grounded on document analysis and exploratory interviews, this article highlights some of its strengths and weaknesses. In general, the most problematic aspects of these processes are related to their lack of credibility for some potential participants, as well the persistence of an institutional setup for water decision making that strongly favors the long-standing relationship between Basin Management Agencies and traditional water users. The article offers some concluding remarks on the need for a reformed institutional desing for the management of water resources, according to the idea of governance expressed by the WFD.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3-26
JournalRevista Espanola de Investigaciones Sociologicas
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2011


  • Citizen participation
  • Information
  • Public administration
  • Public policy
  • Water supply


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