OPTIMA: Optimisation   for Sustainable
Water Resources Management

Stakeholder Workshops

Stakeholder involvement, early, continuous, and active, is a central element of the participatory optimisation and DSS approach in OPTIMA.

Stakeholder workshops are TOOLS to facilitate DIALOG and stakeholder INPUT, integrating their know-how and experience, facilitate active INVOLEVEMENT (and thus ownership of and responsibility for the results) and DISSEMINATION of results: workshops are not activities in their own right, but should be well integrated into the respective case studies.

Also, it may be useful to keep in mind that this is a RESEARCH PROJECT, not a political campaign; the basic rules of scientific research, formulation and testing of hypotheses, propositional calculus, inference, and logic, even statistics, are applicable. Opinions and perceptions are useful and in fact invaluable guidance for relevance and acceptance of a DSS which by its very nature is application oriented, but they are not necessarily objective facts.

Project related group or event Total Female %
Stakeholder data base contact persons 228 41 18
1st Stakeholder workshop Turkey 57 22 39
1st Stakeholder workshop Lebanon 42 7 17
1st Stakeholder workshop Tunisia 40 10 25
2nd Stakeholder workshop Turkey 39 16 41
1st Stakeholder workshop Jordan 30 10 33


Stakeholder workshops are the primary tools of interaction. They provide the bridge and translation between the stakeholders ideas, knowledge, preferences, agenda and objectives, and the formal language of the model-based analysis.

What is important to consider is to make sure that there is TANGIBLE OUTPUT that directly contributes to OPTIMA (and the respective scenarios and case study Deliverables) rather than a somewhat independent activity and discussion forum.

Workshops are efficient instruments as we can address a bigger group simultaneously. But we should not forget that spending a day otr two out of the office is a considerable investment for most participants. Therefore, It would be very useful to start out planning a workshop by trying to develop a LIST OF TANGIBLE EXPECTED RESULTS and keep using this as a checklist fort preparations, during the meeting, and in analysing it !

For that, it is important to keep in mind the AUDIENCE, their expectations, knowledge, language. The workshop organizer and facilitators will have to consider their perspective: how to make sure they feel they GAINED something worth their time ?

Please consult the workshop guidelines develop sofar and feel free to comment and suggest additions, modifications !


Stakeholder guidelines (IRMCo)
Stakeholder guidelines (CoZero) Stakeholder involvement (CoZero) Workshop guidelines (CoZero)

Workshop Reports

Workshop Reports and Analysis (Corridoio.zero) Tunisia Workshop Report (CNTD) Tunisia Workshop Presentation (IRMCo)
Lebanese Workshop Report (ELARD) Lebanese Workshop (29 MB, PPT)
Jordan Workshop, on-line PPT Jordan Workshop Report (UJO)
Turkish Workshop Report (SUMER) Turkish Workshop Report, Annex 1 (SUMER) Turkish Workshop Report, Annex 2 (SUMER)
Turkish Workshop Report, Annex 3 (SUMER) Turkish Workshop Report, Annex 4 (SUMER) Turkish Workshop Report, Annex 5 (SUMER)
Turkish Workshop Report, Annex 6 (SUMER) Turkish Workshop Report, Annex 7 (SUMER) Turkish Workshop Report, Annex 8 (SUMER)
Turkish Workshop Report, Annex 9 (SUMER) Turkish Workshop Report, Gender Issues (SUMER)

More guidelines ...

Specific and additional points we would like to emphasize include:
  • Please make sure all participants are "registered" in the sense that their entries in the stakeholder data base should be checked together with them, discussed, updated (and DEFINITELY their participation noted under ACTIVITY REPORTS);

  • It would be good to find an efficient way to go over the ISSUES questionnaire with them (again), maybe in small groups or individually, to UPDATE (preferable WITHOUT reference to any initial issues questionnaires .....) their perceptions, would be interesting material to evaluate consistency.

    As an alternative (and with a two-day workshop) you could shortly discuss the issues on the first day, then give participants a copy of the questionnaire to go over during a break or over night, collecting and posisbly discussiong responses towards the end.

  • If you feel the questionnaire should be re-considered and more focussed, or we should have a second updated one more geared to the optimization concepts, NOW is the time !!!

  • While LISTENING to the stakeholder is of course central, there MUST be some STRUCTURE to make any "results" usable. A collection of unstructured anecdotes is only marginally useful in this context.

    The OBJECTIVE (the list of tangible outcomes and results) would be to collect (and reach consensus as much as possible or at least structured and discussed positions) THEIR ideas on:

    1. Baseline Model Structure: does it represent their understanding, does it include what they consider important (sufficient coverage and detail of NODES) - DO they "recognize" their system and problems, HOW would they change it ?

      At the very least, be prepared to present the model in terms of basic principle (dynamic mass budgets, demand/supply) and offer a list of the NODES represented (i.e., the sub-catchments, well fields, reservoirs, cities, and irrigation districts, wetlands, divserions and exports, the aquifer(s) considered !). The idea is NOT to describe them in any detail, but to give an impression on the resolution, processes and components covered, coverage and level of detail the model can offer.

    2. The CRITERIA they use to describe the system, its function/performance, problems, costs and benefits, etc (should somehow be consistent with their view on issues, and address the concepts of COST and BENEFIT explicitly and in relation to the model structure/components (demand nodes); can the CONSTRAINST be formulated in terms of these critiera ? Are the criteria proposed measurable ? How would one know that expectations have been met - in terms of the criteria ?

    3. OBJECTIVES AND CONSTRAINTS: Please note that a separate questionnaire has been prepared to collect and structure this information in a format directly useful for the OPTIMIZATION. Their use should depend on the audience, i.e., types and background of your stakeholders, local practice, expectations, the nature of your particular meeting !

      Please note that these questionnaires are NOT intended to be used by stakeholders WITHOUT GUIDANCE, possibly not directly at all !!! i.e., we expect that a team member guides the discussions and help to fill the questionnaires, individually or as a group exercise, in direct bi-lateral contact or at a stakeholder workshop.

      As an alternative, just use the questionnaires internally, yourself to organise the information at the meetings, without necessarily exposing the stakeholders to them, but please make sure that the information does get compiled and structured, as well as documented as to its source !

      • The OBJECTIVES - what do they want, or expressed as "problems" where does the system fall short of their OBJECTIVES ? this needs to be expressed in (A) the language of CRITERIA (B) the language of the model out puts, direct and derived, but in any case AS PRECISELY AND QUANTITATIVELY as possible !

        Feel free to EXTEND the list of objectives given in the questionnaire, which currently only includes what the model can generate easily, but that can be changed if needed !

      • the CONSTRAINTS, a variant of the OBJECTIVES, but expressed in terms of "AT LEAST or NO MORE ... rather than "as much as possible". Since these are "easy" and without trade-off, the are most reliable for the optimization to eliminate infeasible solutions.

    4. INSTRUMENTS: another questionnaire proposed, see below.
      what can/should be done to the system to meet CONSTRAINTS and contribute to the OBJECTIVES; this relates to the water technologies, but primarily to the MODEL STRUCTURE: can we represent the instruments deemed feasible by the stakeholders with the current model ? What else would be needed ?

      Please note that we do not ask for precise recipies, but for qualitative information of which instruments could be used in principle: it is the purpose of the optimization to select the most appropriate and efficient instruments and find the best combination and balance !

More Questionnaires

To compile the stakeholder inputs in a structured, comparative style that can then be integrated into the data base (for INSTRUMENTS that should be added to the Water Technology Data Base for a start) and directly help to build the optimisation scenarios, there are two new questionnaires (first DRAFT versions) available:

PLEASE NOTE: the questionnaires are attempts at complete coverage as a checklist; therefore, no single stakeholder would be expected to fill any one of them COMPLETELY !!! Entries under global, sectoral, or local elements obviously depend on the role, mission and scope of the stakeholders institutions. We do not necessarily expect an irrigation association to have global objectives at the basin level, just as the ministry will not necessarily have constraints at the level of individual cities. Collect what you can and what stakeholders feel comfortable with, but do collect it in a structred and organised way, on paper.

At the same time, you can try to make this more flexible by role playing exercises where any given stakeholder can be asked to act in the role of of some other group/type (e.g., at the sectoral level), which is also a way to obtain better balance in a given group.

the latter covering policies as well as water technologies. At this point, we would like to you take a close look, try to fill them for your case study, and let us know about your experience, any suggestions, and questions so we can improve them !
Level of detail:
We do NOT expect that all quantitative questions such as costs or efficiencies can be answered off-hand with any level of engineering precision ! Feel free to use and encourage the use of SYMBOLIC, qualitative descriptions:   low, medium, high   is better than no information at all !

For a definition of terms and concepts, please consult:   http://www.ess.co.at/OPTIMA/modeltools.html for optimisation scenarios and economic evaluation. OF COURSE a stakeholder meeting is NOT a technical model workshop, and the language is NOT the language of the model; but the moderators should be aware of what the outcome should contribute to, provide the necessary translations, and steer the discussions, provide initial questions/discussions points, make the OBJECTIVES of the meeting very explicit from the beginning and at every individual step, working group etc. and clearly seek cooperation and input, but provide structure, keep the discussions focused, etc.

Ideally, a stakeholder meeting will approve or suggest changes to the baseline model, and provide the framework for the optimization in terms of criteria, objectives, constraints, and instruments.

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