Subtask Description:
Group reflection on own deliberation.

Action points of the implementation:

  1. Complete the Output Package by including a report from the deliberation forum.

Guadiana Estuary, Portugal (& Spain)

Policy Issue:
Management of the discharges of untreated wastewater into the estuarine environment

Human Activities:
Energy production, tourism, urban activity, agriculture and livestock farming, aquaculture.

General Information:
The estuary is the natural border between Portugal and Spain. On both sides of the estuary, especially in Spain, urban development is taking place, mainly associated with tourism and threatens to increase the inputs of pollutants, namely nutrients and bacteria. Nutrient input is expected to change, not only due to fertilizer application on golf courses, but also due to the river discharge from a large dam, which has accumulated nutrients during its filling. On the Portuguese side, the construction of a large-scale WWTP, designed to serve several urban areas, was successively delayed since it is located within a protected area. The main stakeholder concerns relate to asymmetric development strategies of the two countries and the impact of activities taking place in the watershed on the estuarine and coastal water quality, which has consequences on tourism attractiveness, fisheries, or traditional salt farming.

Example of Implementation:
Evaluation of the Consultation, Analysis and Deliberation process was performed through a questionnaire distributed among the stakeholders, thus allowing the assessment of the meetings.
At the general communication level, the stakeholder’s perception revealed the highly valuated role of the scientific community, which can “contribute to the development of useful tools for integrated management”, as well as the need to create good communication structures among stakeholders (Figure 1).

Figure 1: Communication questionnaire results. A) Importance of communication with...;
b) How to best achieve the communication with other stakeholders?

Knowing this, it was also important to perceive how effective the presentation structure was (Figure 2 )

Figure 2: Results of the questionnaire regarding overall presentation and communication.

Among the consulted stakeholders, the level of satisfaction with the meetings was high, as was the interest in maintaining communication with the Guadiana Estuary team, mostly through the dissemination of scientific results that can be directly applied in governance.

The Guadiana model was also part of the evaluation (Figure 3). The model mechanism explanation revealed to be, to the majority of the stakeholders, clear enough, but the utility of a mono-issue approach was considered to be insufficient. Some stakeholders noted that the model used some “unclear” assumptions, or that legal thresholds needed to be updated. However, the fact that 74% wanted to have more detailed information about the model reinforces the importance of having two separate work sessions:
1. Introduction, recapitulation, SAF methodology;
2. Guadiana Model, outputs, discussion.

Figure 3: Results of the questionnaire regarding the presentation of the Guadiana Model.
a) Model clarity and utility; b) Interest in having more detailed information about the model.

The difficulties identified are mainly related to the model scenarios which are attached to a Policy Issue that today does not have the same relevance. This is reflected in the answers regarding the model scenarios (Figure 4). However, the fact that the policy issue was chosen from the stakeholder choices in the beginning of SAF implementation, contributed to improve its acceptance by stakeholders at this stage.

Figure 4: Guadiana Model Scenarios questionnaire results. a) Scenarios
interest and implication in management; b) Identification of other scenarios

Suggested scenarios, as for example using Priority Substances as a Water Quality indicator or including climate change scenarios, require a redesign of the model. This leaded to the next set of questions (Figure 5). Stakeholders find that all the effort developed by the scientific team of the Guadiana Estuary represents a seminal step in the clarification of complex relations established between the different dimensions: ecological, social and economic. The most highlighted strong points are linked with the integration of data from different knowledge fields and even levels. The inclusion of stakeholders from the beginning of the project can increase the final model utility. Also, its ability to readapt to new legal thresholds will assure its continuity. Nonetheless data needing models may fail by oversimplification, being therefore rapidly discredited by governance. Therefore, independently of the particular results obtained by the current exercise, the majority of stakeholders recognized the potentiality of the SAF, including its utility to address other policy issues. Interestingly, the different aspects that each stakeholder would like to include in the model were related to their specific interests or field of work.

Figure 5: Results of the questionnaire regarding SAF Methodology.

Contact: André Mascarenhas,