Water scarcity is a growing problem in the EU, particularly in the Mediterranean region. The Water Framework Directive (WFD) was established to sustainably manage the EU's dwindling water resources, but requires a coordinated effort between research, industry and administration.
The EU-funded NOVIWAM
(Novel integrated water management systems for southern European regions) project aimed to create long-lasting links between these three sectors. This cooperation will help foster the integrated water management strategy as laid out in the WFD.
Five regional clusters took part in the NOVIWAM project, namely Albania, Cyprus, France (Poitou-Charentes), Portugal (Northern Hydrographic Region) and Spain (Andalusia).
A significant part of NOVIWAM focused on analysing the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT) of each cluster. During the course of the SWOT analysis, researchers also produced a report on the status of southern European catchment areas.
Project partners used the findings of the SWOT analysis to formulate a joint action plan for integrated water management research, taking into account the needs of the three sectors of the clusters, and specially of the Public Administration. This was achieved through joint workshops and a final conference held at the end of the project.
Other NOVIWAM activities included research exchanges between regional clusters and several training sessions. The project also published various reports and academic papers.
NOVIWAM has taken steps to make the guidelines in the WFD a reality by promoting cooperation between administration, research and industry at the regional level. In the long term, this work will help the EU deal with its growing water crisis.