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A bridge over troubled water – public participation as a possibility for success in water management

Journal article
Authors Anders Carlander
Chris von Borgstede
Sverker C. Jagers
Eva-Lotta Sundblad
Published in Water Policy
Volume 18
Issue 5
Pages 1267-1285
ISSN 1366-7017
Publication year 2016
Published at Swedish Institute for the Marine Environment
Department of Psychology
Department of Political Science
Pages 1267-1285
Language en
Keywords Fairness; Norms; Public participation; Trust; Water councils
Subject categories Political Science (excluding Public Administration Studies and Globalization Studies), Environmental psychology


Public participation in local water councils is one method to involve different actors in the implementation of the EU Water Framework Directive. In this study we investigate which beliefs explain why the public participate and also how motives to participate are related to willingness to comply with decisions related to the water management framework. In total 910 respondents answered a web survey regarding their participation in the council work. Structural equation modelling was conducted with willingness to comply and motives to participate as the main dependent latent constructs. Other included latent constructs were perceived need for change, fairness, trust, and social and personal norms. The results show that motives to participate did not have an effect on willingness to comply. Perceived need for change had indirect effects on nearly all latent constructs in the model, and personal norms and social norms (through personal norms) had an effect on willingness to comply. The results are discussed in the context of water management methods.

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