Geografie 2004, 109, 156-169

The new EU water framework directive and participative evaluation processes: use of multicriteria tools in the evaluation of water management options in the Costa Del Sol (south Spain)

Pilar Paneque Salgado1, Serafín Corral Quintana2, Ângela Guimarăes Pereira3, Leandro Del Moral Ituarte4, Belén Pedregal Mateos4

1University of Pablo de Olavide, Department of Humanities, Carretera de Utrera km 1, 41013 Seville, Spain
2University of La Laguna, Department of Institutional Economics, Economic Stalistics and Econometrics, Campus de Guajara s/n, 38071 La Laguna, S/C de Tenerife, Spain
3Institute for the Protection and Security of the Citizen, Joint Research Centre, European Commission. Via E. Fermi, 1, 21020 (VA) Ispra, Italy
4University of Seville, Department of Human Geography, C/María de Padilla s/n, 41004 Seville, Spain

The European Union Water Framework Directive has become an engine of change in water policy, particularly in so far as it prioritises the rational use of water, restoration of the good ecological status of water ecosystems and public participation - diversity of perspectives and values - in decision-making, as a vital instrument to achieve these aims. This paper presents the results of the implementation of a participatory evaluation process to assess water management alternatives for the water supply in the Costa del Sol Occidental area in the province of Malaga. The techniques used in the process were multi-criteria evaluation and social research, with the involvement of the social actors identified in the analysis as a central tenet. It is maintained that by implementing participatory processes, it is possible to arrive at unconventional diagnoses, which can be developed into innovative water management alternatives, and that by taking into account all the values and interests at stake, it is possible to find solutions that overcome inertia, look beyond shortterm considerations and rationalize social conflicts and resistance.