Ambitious mid- and long-term water protection goals currently exist regionally and globally. Setting policy goals means commitments not only for the environmental sector but also for all water users. This paper aims to contribute to the enhancement of mid- (2015) and long-term (2030 and 2050) regional water policy development by addressing the role of participatory scenarios in river basin management planning. It presents selected results of a participatory scenario development process on water resources in the Eastern Baltic region and how the process relates to certain aspects of the river basin management. The paper concludes that a Fuzzy Cognitive Map containing information on the present water management issues has a strong link with the assessment of significant drivers and pressures for the characterisation of river basins according to the Water Framework Directive. As the Eastern Baltic region does not generally have water shortage problems, the quality of available water was assessed as the major issue. Surprisingly, stakeholders did not recognise climate change as an important factor affecting the present water system in the region. The paper also shows that participatory scenarios can contribute to identifying the likelihood of failure to meet the set water policy objectives.

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