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Content archived on 2024-06-18

Coordination Action on Risk Based Management of River Basins

Final Report Summary - RISKBASE (Coordination Action on Risk Based Management of River Basins)

Numerous past research attempts focused on risk-based management of hydrologic catchments' components. The necessity to apply an integrated approach to manage the water, sediment and soil system at a river basin scale as a whole was the prominent outcome of all these projects; thus recent research and development (R&D) efforts tried to improve integrated management scientific basis.

The aim of RISKBASE project was to review and synthesise previous R&D results on basin management so as to create a coordination action (CA) in order to facilitate further policy development and implementation. RISKBASE objectives were to deliver guiding principles, to formulate recommendations for evolution and implementation of the approach and to develop a proposal for future advancements in the field.

An annual general assembly as well as numerous thematic workshops, involving both scientists and stakeholders, were organised. Furthermore, an existing web-based information exchange system was utilised for dissemination purposes.

The main factors degrading the quality of European water resources and estuaries were defined as industrial and agricultural pollution, along with hydraulic engineering for navigation, water supply, hydroelectricity and flood control. However, rehabilitating adverse effects in one system component often resulted in negative impacts on other environmental constituents. The risk-based proposal addressed this problem through the application of three main principles, namely abundance of information, adaptive management and participatory approach utilisation.

Elaborated projects contributed significantly to providing data so as to increase the overall system understanding. Moreover, adjustment of management practices based on system response and experience helped to reduce uncertainties. Participatory approaches involved stakeholders and scientists, along with the development of broad communication and the balancing of ecological quality improvements with economic benefits and sufficient food supply.

RISKBASE employed the observations of drafters, scientists and implementers of existing river basin management plans (RBMPs) so as to incorporate their experience in future applications. The most prominent RISKBASE recommendation was to create a communication network focusing on specific catchments whose monitoring would provide feedback to improve managing effectiveness and facilitate best practices' development. In addition, a relevant European policy initiative could increase the proposal acceptance and applicability. Finally, future research programmes could rapidly mobilise information synthesis, learning procedures and best practices formulation in case they focused on integrated catchment management techniques.