Developing Strategies for Regulating and Managing Water Resources and Demand in Water Deficient Regions
Scope of the project
Water deficiency in many arid and semi-arid regions in Southern Europe is becoming a major constraint for economic welfare and sustainable regional development; these water deficient regions are characterised by high spatial and temporal imbalances of water demand and supply, seasonal water uses, inadequate water resources and poor institutional water management. Appropriate strategies and guidelines for water management are necessary for the formulation and implementation of integrated sustainable management of water resources. The recently adopted Water Policy Framework Directive clearly demonstrates the EU intention to respond to this challenge through an integrated multi-objective approach for water management. The WaterStrategyMan project seeks to develop and evaluate strategies for integrated water resources management (IWRM) in Southern European water deficient regions through a multi-criteria approach that takes into account economic, technical, social, institutional and environmental constraints. There is a pronounced need for coping with rapid social changes, efforts for economic development and escalating water demands in a continuously changing environment. Appropriate water management tools and decision-making practices as well as well-planned interventions for increasing the availability of supply and/or managing the growing demand would provide a solution to the currently faced problems. The project responds directly to such challenges through a holistic policy analysis that provides the tools for the formulation and application of an IWRM framework. The application of a methodology that takes into account technical, environmental, social, institutional and economic parameters ensures that the resulting guidelines may be applicable to the entire range of conditions found in water deficient regions. Methodology, tools, guidelines and protocols of implementation will be developed that may enable decision makers to delineate and assess a wider range of integrated water management strategies, and finally to select and implement relevant water pricing schemes for full water cost recovery. The operation of the project involves the participation of end-users located in strategic sites in Greece, Spain, France, Germany, Portugal, Cyprus, Italy, and Israel. During the analysis and implementation phases, partners will come in close co-operation with local decision-makers and water agencies in order to promote and disseminate the project's outcomes and discuss the interim results. Dissemination of results will be specifically addressed to ensure effective and accurate technology transfer. The implementation of the project will have as an outcome the formulation of water management policies that will comply with some key-policies of the European Commission (in force or potential) and the United Nations, namely the Water Framework Directive, the new Drinking Water Directive, Pricing policies for enhancing the sustainability of water resources, Agenda 21 (Rio de Janeiro, 1992), and the Mediterranean Water Charter (Rome, 1992).
Goals and Objectives
The goal of the project is the study of the differences between quantity and quality dimensions in water management and the development of alternative options and long-term scenarios, through the establishment of a broad framework on the existing knowledge on IWRM practices, while highlighting of the importance of regionalization and the relevant cultural context. As a result, the following objectives have been set:
- The definition of a typology of water deficient arid and semi-arid regions.
- The elaboration of the typology into conceptual paradigms.
- The selection of a set of representative regions, according to the paradigm typology.
- The development of a methodology, which will be able to outline, analyse and evaluate alternative supply/demand scenarios using a multi-criteria approach.
- The adaptation of tools into an integrated and interactive environment of data, algorithms and decision supporting procedures and the development of a Decision Support System (DSS) to analyse quantitative and qualitative impacts, describe the entire gamut of potential responses, and suggest appropriate solutions.
- The analysis of the identified paradigms through the development and assessment of alternative scenarios on current and future water resources allocation.
- Intersectoral competitive water uses will be addressed,
- The development of alternative integrated water resources management options, for each paradigm, taking into account the full economic and environmental costs.
- Institutional interventions will be contrasted to structural vs. non-structural solutions.
- The development of alternative integrated water resources management options, for each paradigm, which will take into account the full economic and environmental costs.
- The development of improved resource and demand management strategies on the basis of the lessons learned from the paradigms.
- The formulation of widely applicable guidelines and protocols for the efficient implementation of the Water Framework Directive under different socioeconomic conditions or assumptions.
- The formulation of principles of integrated water resources management frameworks appropriate for arid and semi-arid regions in the context of implementing the Water Framework Directive.
- The development of possible synergies among different projects that address comparable issues and questions, and the formation of a Cluster.
- The establishment and operation of web sites for the needs of the project and the Cluster.
The project consists of four phases:
- The Diagnostic/Descriptive Phase, aiming at the identification and determination of the existing circumstances in the water-deficient regions of South Europe, the organisation of a workshop on the existing circumstances and the development of a systematic typology of comprehensive problematique.
- The Analysis Phase, where a consistent methodology for shaping and analysing alternative water resources allocation scenarios and water management options in the selected Paradigms will be developed, a flexible Decision Support Tool will be selected from available models, and will be used for the formulation and evaluation of water availability/demand scenarios, a GIS database for the identified Paradigms will be developed. The results of these actions will be presented in a workshop also involving training on the tools.
- The Strategy Formulation Phase, where alternative water allocation scenarios for each Paradigm will be developed, analysed and compared, and alternative water management options will be formulated and evaluated focusing on water cost recovery strategies
- The Synthesis/Dissemination Phase, the main objective of which is the synthesis of the results from the previous project stages in order to develop and formulate widely applicable guidelines and protocols for the efficient and timely implementation of the Water Framework Directive. This phase involves the development of guidelines, protocols and strategies for water deficient regions. This phase also includes the elaboration of project results into publishable form, a Seminar that will be undertaken as part promoting dissemination of the results, and an Information campaign on the outcomes of the project, training of decision-makers and the formulation and realisation of the Exploitation Plan
The economic dimension
The economic dimension of the WaterStrategyMan project involves:
- The review and evaluation of available methods for the assessment of economic costs and environmental impacts from water supply and use and assessment of their applicability to the identified Paradigms. Methods will be analysed taking into account the value of water for different and competing uses. Methods for estimating environmental impacts of water management interventions will be evaluated and their applicability to the selected paradigms will be assessed. Direct monetary evaluation of environmental and resource costs will be developed and its adaptability and appropriate policies for water pricing will be analysed.
- The evaluation of alternative water resources allocation scenarios for the Paradigm regions. This will include the development of alternative scenarios for supply interventions or demand side actions; simulation of the water system under the new conditions and assessment of their effect on the current and future matching of water demand. Assessment of the economic and environmental costs and benefits for each water management scenario as well as assessment of the socio-economic impacts. The comparison of alternative scenarios with the base case scenario and the selection of those that have an improved performance.
- The development of alternative integrated water resources management options, for each paradigm, taking into account economic and environmental costs. The basic steps include the evaluation of full water cost recovery alternative structures and their applicability to the pertinent socio-economic environment, and the selection of appropriate cost recovery strategies taking into account the interests of all actors involved through broad stakeholder participation. The selected scenarios will be evaluated for each paradigm, in order to determine appropriate water prices that will ensure water cost recovery, taking into account economic efficiency, environmental values and social equity. The applicability of cost recovery structures will also be analysed to identify their impact on the socio-economic environment.