Water Solutions

DBT publishes Step-by-step guide to stakeholder involvement

Related Work Package: 1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 2.1, 2.2, 2.3, 2.4, 3.1, 3.2, 3.3, 4.1, 4.2, 4.3, 4.4
Keywords : participatory Technology Assessment, stakeholder engagement, stakeholder workshop, decision making, process facilitation

On the basis of experiences from four stakeholder workshops held in Denmark, The Netherlands, Greece and Mexico, DBT has developed a step-by-step guide on how to perform participatory Technology Assessment to support decision making and implementation in relation to Subsurface Water Solutions.

A participatory Technology Assessment (pTA) is performed by local stakeholders and decision makers. It is a kind of cost-benefit analysis of the way a particular technology works and has effect in a particular societal and environmental context. The four pTAs all involved seven steps:

  1. Identifying the challenge, stakeholders, key issues and responsibilities. This step involved interviews with representatives from all relevant stakeholder groups.
  2. Organizing a workshop with all stakeholder groups and decision makers. Participants are informed about the water issues and potential solutions and then discuss in groups, focusing on the key issues identified in step one.
  3. The production of a report about the main issues and stakes related to different water solutions and about which responsibilites the different stakeholder groups are ready to take in the further process.

The four workshops have demonstrated a range of benefits from pTAs. They can:

  • Provide information about the current and future water needs of different stakeholders.
  • Provide information about the main concerns and possibilities which different stakeholders see in particular solutions to water management issues. This can further inform the design of pilot projects by pointing to issues of consern which the pilot projects need to address.
  • Provide information about which criteria (for example price, water quality or the effect on the surrounding environment) stakeholders find important when choosing between water management solutions.
  • Help identify potential conflicts of interest and open up possibilities to handle them in due time, before they grow to become unmanageable.
  • Be used as an informational basis for decision making and increase chances that the final decisions receive broad support.
  • Inform the details of the implementation of Subsurface Water Technologies (for example regarding the distribution of costs, the choice of particular sites the combination with other solutions and the continuous monitoring of water quality).
  • Engage different stakeholders (e.g. the water company, different water management authorities, farmers etc.) in the further process of finding and implementing a solution.

Main issues of concern at the four sites

DBT played a crucial role in communicating with stakeholders at the replication sites. Particularly 5 subjects recurred as issues of concern by stakeholders at all replication sites: Environmental consideration, water quality, security against flooding, security of supply, economy. But the workshops also demonstrated that each site has its own site-specific challenges.

For example, Schinias in Greece is an important archaeological site, and important concerns there were that the salinity in the ground should remain unaltered, and that the drilling should not interfere with archaeological sites. In Denmark, on the other hand, clean groundwater is a very important value – hence, injecting surface water into the ground was controversial. And in Baja California in Mexico the main issue was to ensure that the export markets for edible crops would not be concerned about the use of reclaimed water for irrigation – hence, an important recommendation that came out of that workshop was that the use of reclaimed water should be coupled with continuous control and documentation of the water quality.



The step-by-step guide is a detailed introduction to all the steps involved in a pTA, describing the reasoning behind and giving examples from the four workshops. It can be downloaded for free from the SUBSOL website.