Watercourse management
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Handbook "Collective Planning of Hydraulic Engineering Projects"


The Handbook (pdf 8.2 MB) presents the most important instruments of the decision-making process.

In recent years sustainable flood protection has been embedded within all major laws and regulations governing hydraulic engineering. It is however much harder to translate this new philosophy into routine practice. There is a lack of clear recommendations for moulding public opinion and decisionmaking, including an understanding of how various stakeholders should be incorporated in the process. This manual aims to close this gap: for one thing, it analyses current hydraulic engineering practice and illustrate the fundamental problems in project implementation. It also proposes specific methods and identify an exemplary project cycle, both at project level and for the catchment area.

The recommended tools primarily address the following four subject areas:

  • Contextual analysis: In hydraulic engineering projects, how can the social, spatial and historical contexts be analysed? How can significant stakeholders be identified?

  • Inclusion of stakeholders: What motivates various stakeholders and how can they be included in the planning process?

  • Comparing options and finding consensus: How do formal decision-making aids support this process? With inclusion of stakeholders, how are different options compared and solutions finalised?

  • Predictive models: How can models be used to appraise the impacts of hydraulic engineering projects on ecology and local economies?

This manual focuses on revitalisation and flood protection projects (referred to as hydraulic engineering projects). Methodological tools can also be transferred to other subject areas (e.g. natural hazard and infrastructure projects). The applicability of tools depends on the different constraints faced by specific hydraulic engineering projects and is adaptable to the needs of the individual project.
The manual is aimed at those in charge of hydraulic engineering projects within local councils, cantons and the federal government, as well as contractors in engineering agencies, institutes and universities. The guidance is also useful for environmental and civil organisations, among others.


Hostmann M., Buchecker M., Ejderyan O., Geiser U., Junker B., Schweizer S., Truffer B. & Zaugg Stern M. 2005. Collective planning of hydraulic engineering projects. Manual for participation and decision support in hydraulic engineering projects. Eawag, WSL, LCH-EPFL, VAW-ETHZ, 48 p.