Workpackage "society"

Important Results

1) The discourses around reservoirs are significantly shaped by the type of use and the temporal context of their implementation. More recent projects from the second half of the 20th century prove to be increasingly conflict-laden with broader and controversial discussions and more complex forms of participation overall. Older projects and their implementation are characterised by closer discussions with a fundamentally more positive assessment. Many older established projects are now seen as having strong regional roots and as "landmarks".

2) Environmental change is one of the most critical issues in the case studies examined here. This applies to issues of continuity of streams and biodiversity as well as to issues of climate change and land use structure.

3) Communication and early participation in reservoir management is key to avoiding conflict. Areas with less top-down guidance and directives were perceived to be less problematic and conflictual with a communicative management.

4) Land use impacts on reservoirs are mainly through sediment and nutrient inputs. On the other hand, reservoir projects in turn have an impact on land use. In the area of the Franconian Lake District, increasing change in agricultural land due to tourism use could be observed, as well as an increase in settlement and commercial areas.

5) The critical issues identified by the CHARM scientific consortium are also reflected in the perception of local residents and in public discourses of the media, albeit with different weighting and prioritisation. This can be explained by the "visibility" of the individual problem areas, which is also significantly shaped by media attention.

Brief summary

Motivation: Better understanding of the needs of stakeholders and the social/ecological environment of reservoirs and the associated potential for conflict

Novelty: The explicit analysis and linking of engineering, natural and social science issues in relation to the - from a hydrogeographic point of view - special case of reservoir management for integrated management

Strategy: Use and adaptation of heterogeneous methods from various disciplines to identify and analyse the factors that shape and form the social environment of the reservoirs. Consideration of different dimensions: qualitative-quantitative axis, time axis, holistic-exemplary axis

Methods: Constellation analysis, composite programming, mapping, expert interviews, surveys

Goals: Development of an analytical framework as a basis for 1) improved communication between actors and 2) conflict mediation.

Figure: Land use around the lakes KBS/GBS; Compilation: Coenen S., Pfeifer M., Wörner T. 2019

(A) Motivation: Worldwide, dams and reservoirs serve, among other things, water and energy supply, flood retention, low water elevation and local recreation. Their importance will increase in the future due to climate change and global population growth. In many respects, sustainable management of dams represents a major challenge for operators, the directly adjacent regions and society. Reservoir management bears the risk of frictions with regard to the heterogeneous interests of affected actors. Current examples in Germany as well as in a global comparison show that the mechanisms in the interplay of these different interests are not yet sufficiently well understood to effectively avoid or reduce conflicts (conflict mitigation). For this reason, a management that considers all factors to be networked is of great importance with regard to sustainable storage management.

(B) Objectives: The social implications and framework conditions of reservoir systems were analysed at various levels in order to develop a basis for integrated and networked management concepts. The transdisciplinary identification of impact pathways that have led to conflicts of interest or have the potential to do so was transferred via exemplary detailed studies into a holistic approach that can be transferred to similar projects. In this way, a sustainable, integrated storage management can be promoted.

(C) Methods: To develop the analytical framework, different levels had to be considered and correspondingly heterogeneous scientific methods applied. The evaluation of the catchment area and, in particular, the demands of active and passive actors on the system represented a first step. This was done using established methods of empirical social science and geography: remote sensing, surveying and GIS mapping. In a second step, concrete data of the actors concerned could be collected through expert interviews and surveys. The transdisciplinary method of constellation analysis visualised the connections between the individual elements of the system: actors, natural, technical, abstract and hybrid units, thus providing a first impression of the situation in the rooms of the case studies.  Thus, natural and social factors as well as aspects of reservoir management are not considered in isolation, but in interaction with the various actors and stakeholders and analysed in their impact patterns. First, the local interrelationships in selected reservoir areas (SBT, TKK, GBS/KBS) were taken into account and those factors were identified whose transferability to reservoir areas appears possible and promising on a comparative level. For this purpose, a comparison matrix was created. In addition, the dynamics of social processes and the question of risk perception are in focus, so that discourse-analytical procedures are also applied and the historical component is considered. As an instrument of envisaged comparability and for use as a future basis for conflict mitigation, the method of composite programming (from the spectrum of multi-criteria decision analyses, MCDA) was adapted and modified in order to identify and quantify the relevant conflict indicators.

(D) Goals: The data obtained were used to develop a networked and integrated management concept (Daus et al., submitted). This should contribute to improved communication between stakeholders and thus to conflict mitigation in the future. This can contribute to an integrated management of water resources, which will become increasingly important in the future. In the long term, the UN's goals in sustainable development can be supported and implemented in small parts.

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