ASSESSING CITIZENS' PERCEPTIONS ON ECOSYSTEM SERVICES IN GLOBAQUA RIVER BASINS

The survey focuses on the opinion of citizens in Europe. The survey gathers the perception of local citizens on the value and importance of their natural environment. Specifically, we assess the opinion about the local impact of climate change and effect of pollution on freshwater ecosystem. Usually valuation of ecosystem services is done in financial terms only. The purpose of this research is to add a social dimension to valuation and the importance of ecosystem services. Our approach enables us to present decision-makers with a more accurate and comprehensive understanding of the importance and value of nature.

This survey is the follow-up of a participative workshop carried out in 2016 with experts in water management and stakeholders in the Sava river basin. The questionnaire was designed according to the results from this consultation in 5 different parts: general information, environmental and water management, ecosystem services, impact of climate change, measures to protect ecosystems.

The Survey was distributed on the 2nd of May 2018 and closed by the 1st of June for Adige, Ebro, Evrotas, Sava-Slovenia (English), Sava Croatian (Croatian), and Anglian. Sava-Serbia (Serbian) and Souss Massa are closed by June 14th.

The combined total of responses to all 8 survey iterations is 620 registered responses. Correcting this number for responses which do not contain any filled in responses, the total number of actual responses is 525. Actual responses are all responses where an individual respondent has filled in at least one answer to a survey question. Only the actual responses are used for data analysis.

One of the most interesting results is the level of acceptance of proposed policy measures:

Q24 If you were able to influence the choice of measures to protect ecosystems in your area, how much would you support the following measures? Please indicate your level of support or opposition for each proposed measure.

Overall, it can be stated that for the majority of measures less than 10% of respondents indicate they are some level of opposed. The main exceptions to this are, in order of descending proportion of opposition: development of large dam, development of small dams, ban new projects for groundwater abstraction for irrigation, limit new abstraction of groundwater, and limit the use of flood irrigation for agriculture.

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