PlanSmart at the Lahn River

Cooperation with EU-Life Project ‘LiLa – Living Lahn’

The Lahn Concept is expected to develop a future perspective that is supported by society and politically agreed upon through a declaration from the federal government and states. One central aim of the integrated EU-LIFE project 'LiLa – Living Lahn' is the development of the so called Lahn Concept until 2026.

Within the scope of the cooperation the PlanSmart aims for a joint generation of scientific knowledge about strategic scenarios for the future development of the Lahn river basin and about economic, social and ecological effects of these scenarios for humans and nature. Furthermore, PlanSmart supports the identification of strategies for implementation and financing of the preferred scenarios.

PlanSmart aims for the following outcomes:

  • develop scenarios on options for the future development of the Lahn river basin,
  • simulate effects of the scenarios on land use and ecosystem services as well as assessing social and economic effects,
  • propose financing and realization concepts for preferred scenarios, and
  • identify governance structures within the LiLa project as a basis for realization options for scenarios.

PlanSmart is a scientific and politically independent research group that closely cooperates with the LiLa consortium from the beginning of the project.

The cooperation between LiLa and PlanSmart happens in a non-public space called the LahnLab (based in the concept of real world experiments) as a platform for cooperation. The LahnLab consits of a series of five Workshops starting in winter 2017 and ending in winter 2019. The workshops each take six hours and are located at suitable places along the Lahn river. The LahnLab offers the opportunity of creatively discussing strategic scenarios and thinking about unusual ideas. Through the workshop collaboration mutual understanding is promoted and the common knowledge base is broadened.

The following issues were discussed in five workshops:

  • Interests workshop: The workshop serves for coordinating common aims of the LahnLabs as well as for the exchange about problem definitions and aims of the project partners and the concretisation of the study area.
  • Scenario workshop: In the second workshop assumptions and variables for the identification and design of strategic scenarios are developed.
  • Futures workshop: The futures workshop is used for the presentation of the prepared scenarios and worked with the assessment of effects from land use changes as well as with the adaptation of the scenarios.
  • Effects workshop: In this workshop detail analysis of the scenario effects are presented and a corridor of acceptable scenarios for the future development of the river is developed.
  • Potential workshop: The last workshop focuses on discussion and adaptation of a method for identifying spatial potentials for restoration measures.

PlanSmart in Costa Rica

Transferability of solution plans and implementation concepts in the river landscape of the Rio Tárcoles

In Costa Rica our transfer case study is the Río Grande de Tárcoles rivershed as problems urge for solutions there: the Tárcoles river is the most contaminated river in Central America. Challenges to be solved there are amongst others surface water contamination caused by organic materials, pesticides, heavy metals, pathogene microorganisms, non-biodegradable materials, but also ground water contamination caused by nitrates and fertilizers, erosion caused by livestock farming, flooding in urban areas, illegal constructions on the river banks and higher risk of diseases like diarrhea and gastroenteritis,

The problems regarding water quality and flooding in urban areas resemble the challenges the Lahn river in Germany is confronted with. Nevertheless ecosystems, economic activities and institutional background differ in both regions due to the geographic situation.

Approaches and tools used in PlanSmart can be tested in a different socio-ecological context there. Aditionally, learning effects ca nresult from our partners´models and experiences.

The work conists in two elements: on the one hand two governance models for water management in two different countries can be compared (the EU-LIFE Project LiLa – Living Lahn and the CGICRGTárcoles - Comisión de Gestión Integral de la Cuenca del Río Grande de Tárcoles). On the other hand, the participatory process used in PlanSmart (the labs) can be tested in a different governance context.