Mitigation of Water Stress through new Approaches to Integrating Management, Technical, Economic and Institutional Instruments
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The project


AquaStress attempts to develop stakeholder driven, European scale, comprehensive multisectoral, integrated (institutional, socio-economic, technical) approaches for the diagnosis and mitigation of water stress. AquaStress empowers actors at different levels of involvement, at different stages of the planning process, and working at different spatial scales, to mitigate water stress. AquaStress leads to prioritised actions that allow gradual improvement and flexibility to adapt to change in global systems, knowledge, technology and society.

AquaStress intends to deliver guidelines to implement integrated water stress mitigation options at local, regional and European scale. AquaStress delivers a "culture change" in approaches to water stress. It will achieve this through:

  • Major advances in the understanding, effectiveness and empowerment of stakeholder driven participatory decision making in water management at local and regional scales;
  • New insights into the pressures and drivers of water stress in different regions of the EU, and in the regional aggregation of stakeholder based decisions;
  • New assessments of diverse policies, institutions and cultural factors as causes and remedies to water stress, leading to new measures of the effectiveness and side effects of mitigation options;
  • New approaches to the integration of diverse multi-sectoral and multi-disciplinary expertise for participatory vulnerability assessment and adaptive planning;
  • The development of IT knowledge management tools to support this new management approach;
  • Identifying areas where new technologies would have the most impact in mitigating water stress;
  • A culture change in the European approach to water management, from centralist infrastructure dependency towards a distributed, bottom-up, adaptive integrated systems approach.

Research is continuing to make incremental improvements to the very large number of diverse technologies, management systems, social measures and economic and policy instruments that are being used to mitigate water stress. However, research, development and demonstration of only one new technology require a huge investment over a long period of time, and this is therefore beyond the scope of this IP.

One of the greatest challenges in respect to global water stress is to make better use of the tools which already exist. AquaStress makes a major contribution towards this objective. To do this, it explores new interfaces between technologies and social approaches, disciplines and sectors, and develop a radically innovative water stress mitigation conceptual framework and guidelines to implement integrated options. In order to facilitate the change from a culture dominated by " infrastructure" solutions to more integrated approached, attuned to local needs and supported by citizens, AquaStress has the following characteristics:

  • AquaStress is grounded in a Case Study approach. The IP is working in eight different Test Sites which are representative of water stress problems across Europe and North Africa.
  • AquaStress is truly stakeholder driven. Local Stakeholder fora are established in the eight Test Site areas, while one other high level stakeholder forum provides a European scale overview.
  • AquaStress emphasizes the integration of multi-disciplinary expertise to address complex social and physical problems. A high level of flexibility has been included within the project plan to facilitate the "Call Down" of a wide range of expertise to inform and advise the local Stakeholder Fora involved in the Case Studies. In particular experts develop advice on the many inter-sectoral linkages and feed-backs in the Case Study areas.
  • These three aspects of AquaStress will be supported by a IT knowledgebase system which will facilitate the integration of research activities, the workings of the stakeholder fora, dissemination of research progress and communications, and provide operational guidelines and tools for stakeholder driven integrated water stress mitigation solutions.
  • An extensive and intensive training and education programme embed AquaStress within the Test Sites, inform and extend the involvement of the wider community in the project, and communicate research results widely across Europe and internationally.



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The Final Activity Report and the Final Plan for using and disseminating the knowledge are now available on the AquaStress Project website.

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AquaStress Final Conference and Stakeholders Workshop

AquaStress Final Conference and Stakeholders Workshop (Lisbon, PT, 21-23 January 2009) - PARTICIPANTS LIST

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Integrated Solution Support System (I3S) evaluation workshop

Integrated Solution Support System (I3S) evaluation workshop

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