An analysis of the social acceptance of possible measures to improve the quality status of European water bodies revealed that the willingness of the inhabitants to invest in different strategies will depend on who will have to bear the costs. The social acceptance will significantly increase if the costs are substantially covered by the public budget.
The achievement of the main goal of the European Water Directive (WFD) - improving the ecological status of European water bodies - is highly challenging for researchers, planning authorities and stakeholders. For its successful implementation, public participation is the key element in ensuring fairness, social justice, and acceptability of the required planning and decision-making processes.
In order to evaluate the acceptance and social dimension of the potential policy measures required to attain the WFD goals, German researchers have formulated a new “cooperation index” which reflects the regional actors’ willingness to cooperate in the process of WFD implementation.