Public participation in water management and the promotion of environmental education

Margaret A. House

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    7 Citations (Scopus)


    If fresh waters are to be managed sustainably, and the potential to resolve conflicts of use realised, the general public must be more involved in their management. Participation in water management in England and Wales occurs at three levels, formal consultation, public involvement or actual direct participation by the public. Formal consultations often leave the public in the role of the 'objector' and ignore the 'silent majority', focusing on the more vociferous minority of the population. Public involvement is less formal and can take a variety of forms. Although not allowing the public to be directly involved in the decision-making processes, it provides the public with the opportunity to comment upon plans for river works or the re-development of a river location, or to indicate what they want from the rivers that flow through their own local area and which they use for recreation and amenity. True participation is where the public are actively involved in the decision-making processes. Public participation at all three levels provides environmental education, however, personal experience promotes a greater environmental awareness and understanding by the public. There have been a number of educational initiatives aimed at schools in the United Kingdom which incorporate participation and education. Care of, and learning about, the natural environment is part of Key Stage 2 of the National Curriculum taught in all schools for eight- to twelve-year-old children. This paper reflects upon approaches to public participation and environmental education in the United Kingdom and provides examples of specific projects and campaigns involving both formal organizations and the general public.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1-5
    Number of pages5
    JournalLakes and Reservoirs: Research and Management
    Issue number1-2
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 1996


    • Environmental education
    • Management
    • Public participation


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