Wider stakeholder participation is an increasingly important feature of sustainable water resources planning and management. Despite regulatory and commercial recognition of the benefits of wider participation, there is considerable variation regarding interpretation and successful practical application of participative planning activities. Research in this field has concentrated on the identification of alternative methods and tools to improve both the quality of engagement and associated outcomes with Social Learning attracting significant attention. Rather less attention has been paid to the homogeneity and consequently the usefulness of the stakeholder group as a social and professional unit. This thesis explores the constituency concerns of four prominent stakeholder groups relevant to water resource management, namely: lay public, regulators, managers and researchers via a social learning model of participative planning. Based on a collaborative learning framework a conceptual model is developed and used to illustrate and analyse the relationships between individual and group concerns, opinions and intervention preferences. A questionnaire based survey was used to identify how constituency concerns vary, allowing the four groups’ expectations and opinions regarding the planning and management of water resource projects to be compared and contrasted. Results show that there is significant variation of attitude and opinion within stakeholder group communities on a large number of issues. A greater than expected level of agreement between stakeholders from different constituencies on some topics was also observed. The results of the research inform contemporary debates about the design and management of stakeholder engagement processes and challenge existing assumptions about the robustness of a ‘stakeholder group’ in terms of having a distinct set of opinions. The conceptual model is then revised to suggest a more appropriate process and content for participatory planning, based on the social learning model used
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