Lessons learned regarding uncertainties
BwN initiatives will benefit from the following lessons and best BwN practices:
Uncertainties occur in almost every phase, but their influence on policy development is mostly indirect.
Uncertainties concerning the technical aspects of a project, the project’s functionality and its effects on the ecosystem occur in almost every phase, but their influence on policy development is mostly indirect.In policy development the emphasis is on the social implications of these uncertainties. Uncertainties tend to differ between project phases. Uncertainty management in a project should take this into account.
2. BwN projects, having both longer temporal and larger spatial scales are usually not yet taken into account in the policy development process.
BwN projects have both longer temporal and larger spatial scales than traditional water engineering projects. Analyses from a governance perspective indicate that these scale differences are not yet taken into account in the policy development process of BwN projects.Concerning uncertainty, focus among policy makers is on the short-term (disadvantageous) effects of the BwN projects, rather than on the long-term benefits. Short-term effects of the BwN project are inherently uncertain, meaning that it is ‘unfair’ to judge a BwN project on these characteristics only. Furthermore, communication should aim at increased understanding and negotiated acceptance of uncertainties in BwN water engineering projects.
3. A higher level of unpredictability requires a different approach to uncertainty.
The higher level of unpredictability in BwN-type projects means that they require a different approach to uncertainty.Current policy practices, however, are not accustomed to accepting high levels of uncertainty in projects / designs. Consequently, current strategies of coping with uncertainty are not likely to fit dealing with uncertainty in BwN projects. ‘Doing more research’, the usual response to uncertainty, is not an effective way of coping with the inherent unpredictability in a BwN project. Yet, performing social scientific studies into peoples concerns and perceptions might be a powerful instrument to manage the uncertainty in the social system that is related to the unpredictability of the natural system.
4. Use the media to expose the general public to the BwN philosophy.
Use the media to expose the general public to the BwN philosophy.For instance, establishing a clear link between climate change and the potential of BwN to provide sustainable solutions may increase the awareness of the general public that BwN solutions are really needed in the future. Furthermore, keeping up the speed in the policy decision process of a BwN project can be a key strategy to prevent endless discussions about uncertainty. Stress that monitoring and feedback enable finetuning and adjustments, if necessary.