A Philosophical Justification for a Novel Analysis-Supported, Stakeholder Driven Participatory Process for Water Resources Planning and Decision Making




Two trends currently shape water resources planning and decision making: reliance on participatory stakeholder processes to evaluate water management options; and growing recognition that deterministic approaches to the evaluation of options may not be appropriate. These trends pose questions regarding the proper role of information, analysis, and expertise in the inherently social and political process of negotiating agreements and implementing interventions in the water sector. The question of how one might discover the best option in the face of deep uncertainty is compelling. The question of whether the best option even exists to be discovered is more vexing. While such existential questions are not common in the water management community, they are not new to political theory. This paper explores early classical writing related to issues of knowledge and governance as captured in the work of Plato and Aristotle; and then attempts to place a novel, analysis-supported, stakeholder-driven water resources planning and decision making practice within this philosophical discourse, making reference to current decision theory.

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Copyright © 2018 MDPI. This article first appeared in Water 10:8 (2018), 1009.

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