School of Management
Royal Holloway University of London

The Centre for Research into Sustainability

Evaluating Development of a Multipurpose Water Management Plan

Project Description

This project investigates how governance of a multi-purpose water management policy-making process occurred in South Florida's Everglades. The focus of the project was evaluation of the Everglades' Restudy process (1992 - 2000). The Restudy process mobilised science, policy and demonstrated a commitment to public involvement to produce the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP). CERP is a multi-purpose water management plan inclusive of ecosystem restoration and water supply and flood protection for an estimated doubling of South Florida's population.

Anhinga in Everglades National Park
Anhinga in Everglades National Park (Dengler, 2002).


Analysis identified that the nature and quality of communications between actors, the building of new institutions, and the mobilisation of different forms of knowledge, particularly science throughout the process were critical factors in achieving an agreed outcome. The analysis highlighted the power of a small number of individuals who had the capability and credibility to move between different policy arenas in brokering the process. The agency of these individuals created a number of new institutional structures that enabled stakeholders to achieve a negotiated outcome of a multipurpose water management plan that fell within the socio-political range of acceptability, despite significant conflict amongst multiple competing stakeholder groups.


This project deployed a triangulated methodology:

  1. semi-structured interviewes
  2. participant observation
  3. archival analysis

Key Publications

Dengler, M. (2008) "Finding the political ‘sweet spot’: sectional interests, consensus power, and the Everglades Restudy (1992 – 2000)" Environment and Planning A 40(4) 766 – 784

Dengler, M. (2007) ‘Spaces of power for action: governance of the Everglades Restudy process (1992 - 2000)’ Political Geography Vol 26:4, pp 423-454


Mary Dengler (Department of Geography, Royal Holloway, University of London)