Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS


GLOBAQUA Report Summary

Project ID: 603629
Funded under: FP7-ENVIRONMENT
Country: Spain


Project Context and Objectives:
Water is one of the most essential natural resources, and water-related services are major components of human wellbeing and socio-economic development. Currently freshwater systems are under threat by a variety of stressors. Although the interaction between stressors can result in complex effects on organisms and ecosystems, little is known beyond the described effects of single stressors on the chemical and ecological status of water bodies and on their ecosystem functionality. This lack of knowledge limits our capacity to understand ecosystem responses to multiple stressors. Water scarcity is a key stressor in many river ecosystems as it tends to exacerbate the detrimental effects of other stressors. It is a serious environmental problem in many European regions that will likely increase in the near future as a consequence of augmented abstraction and climate change, and will force managers and policy-makers to change their current practices. Within this context, GLOBAQUA approaches this problem by assembling multidisciplinary perspectives that encompass climate, hydrology, chemistry, ecology, ecotoxicology, economy, sociology and modelling in order to study the interaction of multiple stressors within the frame of strong pressure on water resources. The aim is to identify the interac¬tion among stressors under water scarcity in order to improve the knowledge on relationships among multiple stressors and attain a better understanding of how current management practices and policies could be improved. In order to achieve this, GLOBAQUA studies 6 river basins (GARBs: Ebro, Adige, Sava, Evrotas, Anglian and Souss Massa) where water scarcity is a present or potential issue.
The project is organised in 14 work-packages (WP), grouped in 5 main modules. Considering this structure, the main aim of the project can be divided into the following specific objectives:
• To understand the effects of water scarcity on the impacts of multiple stressors and predict how these interactions will be altered according to different scenarios of future global change (Module 1-STRESSORS): WP1-DATA collects existing data from basin authorities and research projects. WP2-SCENARIOS generates climatic, socioeconomic and land-use scenarios to provide drivers for the impact modelling. WP3-HYDROL, WP4-GEOMORPH and WP5-QUALITYCHEM analyse surface and groundwater hydrological patterns, sediment and pollutant transport, physical habitat and pollutants.
• To analyse the consequences of oncoming changes on biodiversity and ecosystem functioning (Module 2-RECEPTORS): Observational and experimental data is combined to analyse the effects of nutrients, contaminants, degraded physical habitat and water scarcity on river biodiversity (WP6-BIOL) and ecosystem functioning (WP7-ECOSYSTEM).
• To analyse the effects of water scarcity on ecosystem services and its implications on the socio-economic development of the case study regions (Module 3-IMPLICATIONS): WP8-SERVICES incorporate results from the previous modules in integrative models to simulate the effects of multiple stressors on ecosystem properties and services. WP9-SOCIOECON and WP10-VALUATION provide with an economic and social valuation of the ecosystem services taking into account users’ perspective.
• To explore how to adapt management and policies to minimise the ecological, economical and societal consequences of global change (Module 4-ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT): WP11-INTEGRATION and WP12-POLICY integrate the results of the other modules to define a manageable perspective of water scarcity in order to fill the communication gap in the Science-Policy Interface.
• To communicate the results to target groups, and stimulate the use of results through relations with stakeholders and end-users (Module 5-PROJECT COORDINATION AND DISSEMINATION): WP13-DISSEMINATION ensures the comunication of the project results to researchers, policy makers, water managers, etc. and WP14-MANAGE seeks to coordinate project activities.
Project Results:
The main tasks that have been carried out in each WP are:
• WP1: Provision of historical data relative to climate and hydrology and large climate model-related datasets. Implementation of an interactive internet platform to connect existing databases with water phenomenological data. Compilation of relevant web-sites from the GARBs. Upload in the database of data generated in the project.
• WP2: Estimates and uncertainty ranges of the climate change signals. Bias-correction and spatial scaling of climate model data to the hydrological model scale. Multi-step downscaling to generate very high-resolution projections. Determination of the drivers of land use change and water management. Setup of land use change models.
• WP3: Assessing the impact of hydrological stressors on water availability and quality at the GARBs. Evaluation of the magnitude of alterations in hydrological fluxes and water quality. Provision of baseline water quantity and quality simulations. Identification of hydro-bio-geochemical models to support analyses on the impact of multi-stress factors.
• WP4: Identification of sediment/pollutant related stressors and the linking of these to proxies based on land-use, hydrology and climate to account for pressure/stressor relationships. Determination of the main factors and relationships that drive sediment fluxes at the basin scale. River bed and hyporheic zone characterization and monitoring.
• WP5: Performance of: 2nd general samplings in the Sava and Evrotas and chemical analysis of samples; 2 event-driven samplings at the Sava under high water levels and 1 in Evrotas during flooding; 2 pre-drought event samplings at very low discharges in the Evrotas. Fish sampling at the Sava to verify the extremely high mercury and dioxins concentrations.
• WP6: Analyses of the biological samples from the 1st and 2nd general samplings. Elaboration of the results on the application of species trait response models and application of invasiveness indexes. Set up of field and laboratory experiments to test specific relationships between biology and pressures. Application of models on historical data from the Ebro.
• WP7: Development of the toolbox of methods to measure key ecosystem processes operating at different spatial and temporal scales. Processing of samples from the interaction urban pollution-drought experiment in the Ebro. Set up of an experiment on effects of olive mill effluents on stream ecosystem functioning in the Evrotas.
• WP8: Development of integrative statistical models for ecosystem services at the basin scale.
• WP9: Identification of existing PoMs and gathering of relevant socio-economic data for each GARB. Formation of the case-study baseline scenario that will form the benchmark for further improvements through alterations and additions in the PoMs.
• WP10: Implementation of the 1st participative workshop in 5 GARBs. Analysis of these workshops together with the Evrotas one. Report of results on ecosystems services co-definition and participative valuation and on the down scaling of 2 Climate Change Scenarii (Myopic and Sustainable).
• WP11: Establishment of a parallel between the assessment of multiple stressors under water scarcity and the evaluation of the ecological status of water bodies. Performance of benchmarking of available hydrological models in order to evaluate the discrepancies when they are used for policy support.
• WP12: Investigation of the problems and delays with the implementation of the WFD on the GARBs. Monitoring knowledge integration through questionnaires and interviews of stakeholders and partners and development of a catchment engagement strategy to secure the user perspective and bridge the science-policy gap.
• WP13: Organization of the 1st GLOBAQUA conference and two training courses for young scientists, practitioners and other interested parties. Development of a dedicate webpage in the project website for each of them as well as specific press releases. Publication of 82 OA papers.
Potential Impact:
GLOBAQUA expects to gather better understanding of the relationships between multiple stressors and their impacts on organisms and ecosystems in order to improve water management practices and policies within the EU WFD and other related regu¬lations is one of the expected achievements of the project. When considering the WPs the specific final results and potential impact are:
• WP1 aims at the management of data and information making it accessible to the project consortium in order to facilitate achieving their respective goals.
• WP2 is concerned with the provision, analysis and scientific evaluation of spatially explicit scenarios of climatic, land use, water management and socio-economic change in the study basins. This information is crucial for the implementation, testing and evaluation of Programs of Measures.
• WP3 aims to assess the impact of hydrological stressors on both water availability and quality at the selected catchments. Outputs will provide the necessary information to subsequent WPs for determining the reaction of the ecosystem to changes in multiple stressors.
• WP4 aims at identifying sediment/pollutant related stressors and its link to proxies based on land-use, hydrology and climate parameters to account for pressure/stressor relationships. Using models, these relationships may be transferred in space, in time, or with respect to social or political developments.
• WP5 will analyse the occurrence of pollutants in the study basins and study their fate and behaviour under multiple-stress conditions. The information on chemical status of rivers investigated will help in upgrading the River Basin Management Plans (RBMP).
• WP6 will identify and quantify the effects of different stressors on biodiversity and on changes in biological traits and functional diversity. Results about the identification of invasiveness level and risk of non-native species could be used for actions at EU level and incorporated in policy actions.
• WP7 will develop a toolbox of methods to measure river ecosystem functioning, which is suitable to be used for managers. A set of key ecosystem functions will be analysed at each basin. This information will be key to subsequent WPs as well as for managers.
• WP8 will provide estimates of a series of ecosystem services in biophysical units under different scenarios, from current conditions to climate change scenarios. This will allow calculating the marginal benefits of the likely changes in ecosystem services associated with global change.
• WP9 will estimate the demand and supply of water services in the study basins, that coupled with socioeconomic and climate change scenarios will be used to estimate the gap between the current and optimal cost recovery. Local authorities can adopt the results to enhance the RBMP.
• WP10 will enable a participative Valuation of Ecosystem Services aligned with the TEEB (The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity) Initiative Assessment, realised through stakeholder’s workshops that allow bridging the science policy gap. This activity is expected to provide unique insight on citizen’s perception of ecosystem services and WFD.
• WP11 will deploy an integrated model applicable to catchments at European scale, in order to support the assessment of scenarios of water availability, quality and demand. The model will support the formulation of recommendations to achieve water protection and sustainable use of resources.
• WP12 will deliver policy recommendations for an improved method of accounting for multiple stressor interactions in order to ensure a more sustainable and holistic approach to water management, building on the findings of all previous WP.
• WP13 expects to create interest and to raise awareness among the relevant stakeholders on the main outcomes of the project in order to contribute to the improvement of water management practices and policies and to stimulate further research in the fields covered by GLOBAQUA.
List of Websites:


Guillermo Sanjuanbenito, (Head of European Programmes Unit)
Tel.: +34 91 568 15 28
Fax: +34 91 5681573
Record Number: 199769 / Last updated on: 2017-06-21
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