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A Regional Model for Integrated Water Management in Twinned River Basins

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European water management shared with Asia and Africa

Water is essential for life – not only directly as drinking water, but for agriculture, economic development and maintenance of healthy ecosystems. Increasing pressures on the world’s water resources as a combination of population growth, climate change and inefficient management highlight the need for optimisation of resources to meet future demand.

Climate Change and Environment

In 2003, the EU launched the European Global Water Initiative to extend European directives for water management to other continents, with river basins as the basic unit for management actions. The project ‘A regional model for integrated water management in twinned river basins’ (Rivertwin) sought to take integrated complex models of European river basin management and implement them in their ‘twin’ catchments in Africa and Asia. The Rivertwin project applied integrated modelling and integrated scenario development to produce nine sub-routines integrated into a single simulation and decision-making tool. The researchers applied the model to selected river basins. They identified alternative scenarios for simulation in collaboration with stakeholders and incorporated ecological (water availability and quality) and economic (water demand and water use) aspects of water management, global and regional climactic changes, and socioeconomic perspectives. The project results were disseminated to a wide audience through the project website as well as through training activities. Although model implementation required alterations based on specificities of individual river basins, the project as a whole enabled the transfer of European approaches to water resource management to other continents, particularly those witnessing tremendous population and industrial growth. The World Bank has identified proper water resource management as critical to economic development, reduction of poverty and equity. Thus, the Rivertwin project results most certainly will have a positive impact on the quality of life and the economies of countries in Asia and Africa.

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