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Network on governance, science and technology for sustainable water resource management in the Mediterranean

Final Report Summary - NOSTRUM-DSS (Network on governance, science and technology for sustainable water resource management in the Mediterranean)

The NOSTRUM-DSS project objective was to contribute to improved governance and planning in the field of sustainable water management in the Mediterranean basin through the establishment of a network between science, policy and civil societies. Therefore, the four principal project targets were to:

1. contribute to the improvement of scientific knowledge and applied science in integrated water resource management (IWRM)
2. promote the design and development of effective and suitable support tools for policy and decision makers
3. establish durable links between scientific institutions, governmental organisations, small and medium enterprises and other stakeholders
4. improve public awareness on water management.

A series of products were developed and presented in various dissemination events that were organised during the project lifetime. The tools were accessible via the project website and included databases, reports, publications, dissemination and training material and, most importantly, the 'Best practices guidelines for the design and implementation of decision support systems (DSS) tools for IWRM'. These guidelines summarised basic concepts and features of DSS technology, referred to its potential in supporting decision making, provided recommendations for DSS development and included the existing water policy background.

Cooperation among NOSTRUM-DSS and other initiatives in the field of IWRM was also sought in order to maximise the project's impact and exploitation potential. National reports presenting useful information on water management and decision making processes were produced. Therefore, a review of the main issues at the Mediterranean scale was feasible and helped to reduce existing application gaps. A three-dimensional tool was developed to assist the policy makers by providing step to step responses to their needs.

The project acted as a mediator between policy makers and scientists, contributing to the creation of a common language and a shared forum. Following the analyses of national reports documentation was prepared, focusing on current practices and future challenges. Statistical and spatial data surveying was combined with the application of climate change scenarios and the anticipated consequences on water resources. Another important method to actively engage with local actors was the organisation of face-to-face meetings during the project thematic workshops and other activities. In addition, questionnaires were distributed to obtain a structured stakeholders' feedback.

The final project event was held with the participation of other similar research initiatives and was an excellent venue for knowledge and information exchange and synergies' establishment. NOSTRUM-DSS was overall successful; however, the study demonstrated that improved dissemination should be attained to maximise its impact. Other important limitations derived from the discontinuity of research streams and the lack of specific funding mechanisms to facilitate follow-up of similar projects.