Evaluation of Bayesian Networks in Participatory Water Resources Management, Upper Guadiana Basin, Spain

Pedro Zorrilla, Gema Carmona, África De la Hera, Consuelo Varela-Ortega, Pedro Martínez-Santos, John Bromley, Hans Jørgen Henriksen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

59 Citations (Scopus)


Stakeholder participation is becoming increasingly important in water resources management. In participatory processes, stakeholders contribute by putting forward their own perspective, and they benefit by enhancing their understanding of the factors involved in decision making. A diversity of modeling tools can be used to facilitate participatory processes. Bayesian networks are well suited to this task for a variety of reasons, including their ability to structure discussions and visual appeal. This research focuses on developing and testing a set of evaluation criteria for public participation. The advantages and limitations of these criteria are discussed in the light of a specific participatory modeling initiative. Modeling work was conducted in the Upper Guadiana Basin in central Spain, where uncontrolled groundwater extraction is responsible for wetland degradation and conflicts between farmers, water authorities, and environmentalists. Finding adequate solutions to the problem is urgent because the implementation of the EU Water Framework Directive requires all aquatic ecosystems to be in a "good ecological state" within a relatively short time frame. Stakeholder evaluation highlights the potential of Bayesian networks to support public participation processes.

Original languageEnglish
Article number12
Number of pages17
JournalEcology and Society
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2010


  • Bayesian networks
  • Decision support system
  • Evaluation
  • Groundwater management
  • Guadiana basin
  • Participatory modeling
  • Spain
  • Water management
  • Water use conflicts

Programme Area

  • Programme Area 2: Water Resources


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