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Project Summary Project Description Application of Tools Opinion of Tools Decision making process Contact Details

Opinion of tools

Name of the case study
Developing new methods for co-operation on groundwater protection: Water co-operation and project "Clean Water".

Name of tool
Water co-operation

Opinion of tool - argumentation for choosing the tool
The partners have their own perspectives on the water co-operation:

Copenhagen Energy (the Water Section of Copenhagen Energy) is highly dependent on groundwater catchments in surrounding hinterlands, and on preventing pollution on these sites. As the catchments takes place far away from Copenhagen (typically 20-40 kilometers), the use and protection of the local sites has traditionally been left to local authorities and water works, with little interference from Copenhagen Energy.

Copenhagen Energy sees the water co-operations as a way to support the local water suppliers with knowledge and resources, and at the same time get access to knowledge about the local conditions at the catchment sites – who are using the sites, what are the interest of the local users, what are the chances for getting changes through etc. Copenhagen Energy has formulated their objectives with the collaboration in a checklist, where it is described shortly why it is important to take initiatives on each point. However, this checklist might vary, depending on the context. Further when local stakeholders (users, farmers, industries etc.), are addressed with suggestions for initiatives on groundwater protection, it is much more powerful when there is an established cooperation behind, rather than it is only the local water supplier, or Copenhagen Energy, who would probably be regarded as the "Copenhageners interfering in local business".

Another motivation for Copenhagen Energy is that the traditional decision-making procedure (counties drawing up groundwater plans, and on the basis of these afterwards decides which initiatives for groundwater protection should be taken), often takes too long time. For Copenhagen Energy it is more important to take initiatives instantly, as there are already many risks, which can be prevented. "We can’t just sit here with our hands on our knees" (interview). It is very important for Copenhagen Energy to make the local waterworks feel an ownership to the projects as well; therefore it is a matter of not pushing the cooperation too hard.

The local water works and Slangerup Municipality focuses on the water co-operation as a way to secure fiscal means to realise the ground water protection in Slangerup The local waterworks are small, and have limited resources. Their perspective is that the users of the groundwater in Slangerup should all contribute to the groundwater protection. As only the minority of users is situated in Slangerup ground water protection is not a task only for the local actors. The municipality and the local water works collaborated in advanced as the municipality are the authority for the local water works. But the water co-operation was a frame for bringing in Copenhagen Energy and for establishing a ground water fund as a basis for the groundwater protection. The local water works also uses the co-operation to getter better prices for e.g. tests and analysis through tenders. The municipality sees the water co-operations as an important supplement to their work as an authority.

The participants took the intiative of choosing the tool, and saw establishing the cooperation as an opportunity

Opinion of tool - barriers for the tool implementation
One main barrier is the long time it takes to establish water cooperation’s. First, all the partners wishes and needs have to be identified, and afterwards procedures and regulations have to be defined. Finally, all partners have to approve the act. This process can be quite complicated and often takes long time, and in this time no real initiatives for groundwater protection is being made. Another barrier is a lack of resources in terms of staff and economy that the partners can invest in the water cooperation. Finally not all the water-works in Slangerup are integrated in the water co-operation because of their opposition towards Copenhagen Energy that has been regarded as exploiting the water causing the groundwater level to sink. But in the other actors opinion this opposition are declining and they expect the rest of the water-works to join the water co-operation in the next years.

Opinion of tool - assessment by tool users
Due to the short time, measurable results have been limited. One example is that the initiatives have resulted closing of 20 private wells, and 9 waiting (out of app. 200). Therefore there is a long way to go. However, once the cooperation gets known, the local newspapers starts to write about it, which is remarked by the other water co-operation´s, and encourages them also.

All the partners – Copenhagen Energy, The municipality of Slangerup and the local water works - seem to be very positive towards the co-operation. There seems to be several advantages in the water Co-operations for the actors involved.

Copenhagen Energy finds the co-operation with the local water works and municipalities are important, for various reasons (see reasons for choosing the tool). For the local water suppliers it gives more resources and support. The advantages of the planning with more actors involved are that different views are presented on each initiative and case, which might open up for a discussion on how sustainability should be understood in a specific case. Also, it will make it clearer where the best chances are for sustainable changes, by opening the discussion on where and how to use the resources, and thereby identifying the most efficient efforts.

As the concept of ´Water cooperation´ has been institutionalised, there will probably be a call for methods to establish collaboration. Also the Water Frame Directive (WFD) will most likely lead to new types of collaboration and planning. The first parts of the WFD are about to be implemented, with changes in the Water Act, and will be fully implemented in 2005. According to consultants, this will imply a quest for new tools for collaboration, and at the moment counties and water suppliers are, like in Copenhagen, preparing themselves for the WFD, for instance by carrying out pilot projects as "Clean Water" and "MERIT". This also suggests that there will be developed a number of new ways to plan, manage and cooperate, the in different parts of the country, as a part of implementing the WFD.

The actors involved would recommend it or use it in other cases

Opinion of tool - reviewer\'s assessment
There are strong motivations for developing this kind of process and partnership tools:
• Coordination of knowledge from multiple levels
• Better coordination between actors
• More efficient means for groundwater protection
• Increasing problems with polluted groundwater
• The Water Frame Directive
• Development of partnerships and further concentration within the technical infrastructure.

What tools were used to assess sustainability?

Water co-operation

More information

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