Decision-making and participation: The Watertime results

Robin De La motte, David Hall, Tapio Katko, Andres Sanz Mulas, Emanuele Lobina, Robin de la Motte

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The Watertime project developed analytical narratives of decision-making episodes relating to water services in 29 European cities. These narratives identified the impact on a rational choice process of the cumulative activities of a range of interest-seeking actors, and the degree of public participation in these decisions. Parallel studies identified the national and international contexts, the long-term historical context, and the constraints on future possibilities created by these contexts. The relationship between the actors, factors and contexts and the decision-making process is analysed using the concept of the public sphere. This acts as a democratic medium which absorbs the activities of actors pursuing their own goals, the influence of various factors, and the constraints of history and assessments of the future, and generates autonomous public activity which creates a public interest basis for decisions of the state and public authorities. A set of good practice recommendations, and a participatory decision support system, were derived. The analysis explains the importance of public participation and transparency for the quality of public decision-making and is applicable in principle to multiple levels of decision-making. © 2007.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)151-159
Number of pages8
JournalUtilities Policy
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2007


  • Decision-making
  • Participation
  • Public services
  • Public sphere
  • Water


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