Water-DROP Project: Mediterranean fresh water, a common resource

ENPI CBC MED Water-DROP project -

Water Development Resources Opportunity Policies for the water management in semi-arid areas

Recognising water management as a critical factor, a group of private and public research organizations, local authorities and NGO’s from Italy, Cyprus, Spain, Lebanon, Palestine and Jordan joined to work out new methodological approaches to tackle the issue. In two years activities, the Water-DROP project, funded by the European Commission, created the basis for a new integrated approach, involving policy makers as well as local populations, fostering knowledge dissemination, training and educational campaigns. Website: water-drop.enea.it

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ENPI CBC MED Water-DROP project - Water Development Resources Opportunity Policies for the water management in semi-arid areas Recognising water management as a critical factor, a group of private and public research organizations, local authorities and NGO’s from Italy, Cyprus, Spain, Lebanon, Palestine and Jordan joined to work out new methodological approaches to tackle the issue. In two years activities, the Water-DROP project, funded by the European Commission, created the basis for a new integrated approach, involving policy makers as well as local populations, fostering knowledge dissemination, training and educational campaigns. Website: water-drop.enea.it

ProduttoreENEAChannel
Autori
  • Lorenza Daroda,
  • Francesco Paradiso,
  • Fabiola Letizia Falconieri
Data01/12/2016
LinguaEnglish
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Since the beginning of humankind, availability and access to fresh water has been essential to the development of civilization. Still today, millions of people in the world do not have access to clean water. In the Mediterranean basin, especially in the southern arid and semi-arid areas affected ...

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Since the beginning of humankind, availability and access to fresh water has been essential to the development of civilization. Still today, millions of people in the world do not have access to clean water. In the Mediterranean basin, especially in the southern arid and semi-arid areas affected by desertification, this issue is at the top of the Agenda of national governments.

While climate change and demographic growth are expected to increase pressures on the endemically scarce fresh water supplies, often communities and decision makers are not provided with adequate tools for the correct governance of such a precious resource.

Recognising water management as a critical factor, a group of private and public research organizations, local authorities and NGO’s from Italy, Cyprus, Spain, Lebanon, Palestine and Jordan joined to work out new methodological approaches to tackle the issue. In two years activities, the Water-DROP project, funded by the European Commission, created the basis for a new integrated approach, involving policy makers as well as local populations, fostering knowledge dissemination, training and educational campaigns.

The Water-DROP project was designed assuming that technical-methodological approaches, capacity-building and normative aspects should be tackled together to obtain an efficient and common policy for water management. In the Mediterranean basin, that meant creating cooperation networks both on a local, national scale and on a regional one. On the one hand, the partners promoted the dialogue between local governments and water stakeholders, including citizens, industrial and agricultural operators, as an effective practise to deal with local water mismanagement, pollution and distribution leakage; while, on the other hand, information and knowledge exchange among national authorities was implemented to help overcome any inefficiency due to inconsistent national policies, and provide the basis for shared responsibility.

The Water-DROP project involved the participation of a wide spectrum of private and public stakeholders, international organisations, research institutions, local and national environmental NGOs, local water management authorities and communities. To promote debate and exchange, all were invited to take part in meetings, seminars, and roundtables, while dedicated training courses where arranged for professional operators and public officers to improve technical competence, knowledge and information coordination. A Mediterranean Task Force was then established to address water governance on a transnational basis, and so promote and guarantee the progressive harmonisation of national policies and legislations.

Training and education was an important part of the Water Drop project, which, along with vocational courses for water management, developed a dedicated programme, Train the Trainers, addressing teachers and students of secondary schools.

Topics as unequal distribution of water in the world, domestic water efficiency, hygiene and water pollution were dealt through a participatory approach to increase the awareness of students on sustainable water management.

Nevertheless, the most innovative part of the project was the implementation of pilot initiatives to demonstrate the effectiveness of the new technologies and to build new expertise; in 4 target countries, Lebanon, Palestine, Jordan and Italy the partners implemented successful case studies:

Northern coast of Beirut, Lebanon - The three rivers Nahr Al Jauz, Nahr Ibrahim and Nahr Antelias run north of Beirut and then empty in the Mediterranean; they are heavily polluted and suffer from increasing drought.

Monitoring and sampling campaigns were implemented along their courses to investigate the presence of heavy metals, assess bacteriological and physic-chemical parameters, detect organic pollutants and nutrients and evaluate their impacts on the marine ecosystem.

Hermel, Bekaa valley, Lebanon - Sampling campaigns were conducted in the municipality of Hermel, in the northern part of the Bekaa valley, where the Assi river runs.  Due to intensive fish farming, the river is severely polluted. Monitoring and collecting data were preparatory to interventions to remove contaminants: several constructed wetlands were realized to depurate the outflow of the fish breeding ponds. Moreover 3,5 kilometres of sewers were built along the river basin to collect the grey water coming from touristic facilities and buildings.

Ramallah City, Palestine -  Close to Ramallah city, a wastewater depuration system was installed. Sanitary water is now processed trough anaerobic treatment, then naturally depurated through a constructed wetland, and finally reused for irrigation. Olive and fruit growers are provided with free field watering, in an area where no water is available for secondary use.

Al Balqa Governorate, Jordan - A water management systems was developed in the Al Balqa Governorate area, by the realization of roof-collecting water systems supplying constructed underground wells. The beneficiaries of these installations were 26 private houses and 5 schools, which can now have a fresh water reservoir to be utilized during the dry season.

Torre Flavia, Rome, Italy - A water feasibility study for the recovery of the natural filtering wetland of Torre Flavia, 50 km north of Rome, was carried out. Samples to check water quality were taken at different seasons, since the streams entering the wetland, carry away the waste from different human and agriculture activities. The self-depuration capacity of the wetland was also investigated to assess the possibility to supply the natural wetland with extra water coming from a nearby urban treatment plant.

Filippo Moretti (ENEA) Managing Water-DROP project activities in the Mediterranean semi-arid areas was an exciting and very exhaustive experience. The aim of finding solutions for water scarcity, water depuration, reuse and in general for the integrated management of water resources, represents a real challenge that will get even harder in the near future. The solutions adopted in Water-DROP project can be considered pilot examples to be improved representing, at present, an affordable and immediate response to communities leaving in regions where technologies and tools are not easily found. Although the objectives of Water-DROP project were complex and challenging requiring a very important integration of knowledge and professional experiences, thanks to the fruitful cooperation among project partners coming from the Mediterranean basin, the activities and actions were successfully achieved.

The consumption of water for domestic, agricultural, energy and industrial purposes is increasing worldwide, due to rapid population growth and social change. Moreover, climate change is expected to exasperate the strain on world freshwater resources.

The Water-DROP Project aimed at creating new tools for water governance to respond to the specific needs of the Mediterranean populations at local, national and cross-border levels. Cooperation and networking were promoted as the best way to achieve sustainable management of water resources. It was a complex task based on a simple truth:  to make the best out of the limited water resources we must improve the way we collectively use them.

 

The Water-DROP Project is financed by the European Union in the framework of the multilateral Cross-border Cooperation Mediterranean Sea Basin Program, part of the European Neighbourhood and partnership Instrument.

The project is coordinated by ENEA, in cooperation with partners from Italy, Cyprus, Spain, Lebanon, Palestine, Jordan and associated partners also from Oman.

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