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Political and sOcial awareness on Water EnviRonmental challenges

Periodic Reporting for period 3 - POWER (Political and sOcial awareness on Water EnviRonmental challenges)

Reporting period: 2018-12-01 to 2019-11-30

The Project “Political and sOcial awareness on Water EnviRonmental challenges” (POWER) is a user-driven project to share knowledge and experience of water related issues in different EU local authorities to create a tool for EU water policy.

It addresses four of the eight European Innovation Partnership (EIP) Water Action Group priorities: 1. Water consumption reduction; 2. Water quality; 3. Extreme weather events (surface water flood risk); 4. Variables related to water conservation. The project will develop a common Digital Social Platform (DSP) system prototype to be demonstrated in Milton Keynes, Sabadell, Leicester and Jerusalem. It will combine the experience of these Key Demonstration Cities with follower Cities.
The followers are members of EIP Water Action Group City Blueprints, NetwercH2O and cities that have already produced a CITY BLUEPRINT.

The overall objectives are:
1. Set up a user-driven Digital Social Platform (DSP);
2. Ensure the involvement of a wide society and knowledge community;
3. Ensure social, technological, environmental and political uptake;
4. Transfer the POWER model environment to other communities;
5. Create new collaborative business models.
POWER's aim was to achieve action on water challenges through widespread involvement at political, professional and community levels via the POWER Digital Social Platforms (DSP).

The goal of POWER is to be ‘A user-driven project to share the knowledge and experience of water scarcity, security, quality and water consumption-related issues in different EU local authorities, this creating an important tool for EU water policy.’

The project aimed to achieve local action on water challenges through widespread involvement at political, professional and community levels via the DSP prototype developed within the project. POWER addresses four of the eight European Innovation Partnership (EIP) Water Action Group priorities. These priorities are demonstrated in four cities the POWER Key Demonstration Cities (KDCs) Milton Keynes (UK), Leicester (UK), Sabadell (Spain) and Jerusalem (Israel), where each local instance of the DSP is branded a ‘Water Community’.

The DSP gathers worldwide expertise and experience in the Best Practice Repository. The DSP is supported by communication, engagement and dissemination activities digitally (web-based and social media) and physically (through a variety of events such as workshops). The DSP has continued to establish water communities, raising awareness and stimulating local action on the water priorities.

Through a methodology termed ‘Council for Citizen Engagement in Sustainable Urban Strategies’ (ConCensus), POWER has facilitated the involvement of citizens in water policy-making.

Alongside the engagement of citizens, the project has conducted Water Governance Analysis in KDCs and a further network of cities, with a particular focus on how cities understand their current urban water management capacity and how DSPs can enhance participation in decision-making.

POWER has attracted Follower Cities, who follow the progress of the project and explore the potential for applying the POWER approach.

The POWER DSP has been successfully transferred to longer-term management by POWER partner Climate Alliance, based on a business model of subscription service.

WP 1 – Project Management and Quality Assurance. There have been regular project meetings and teleconferences. The project has followed the quality assurance framework established to ensure good quality deliverables are prepared and submitted.

WP 2 – DSP set-up and start up. The POWER DSP and Best Practice Repository (BPR) are two key outcomes if the project. The definition of the general architecture and functionalities, the development and testing of the DSP prototype in three tiers; the HUB tier for content management; the Public tier (the public-facing front-end (‘PUB’) and Mobile Applications tier (‘MOB’). All were released as open source software. The BPR is being used and there is a wide and interesting range of material uploaded to the repository. The DSP and BPR will be continued beyond the end of POWER on a paid subscription model.

WP 3 – POWER community and scale up techniques and strategies (engagement and gamification) have been implemented across the KDCs. There has been good analysis of best practices in water management. The KDCs have promoted the DSP to different user groups. The ideas contest engaged with new ideas and users.

WP 4 – Environment, political and social impact of the POWER model has focused on ConCensus and Follower Cities which have been welcomed by municipalities across the EU as they are realising the value and transferability of the POWER approach.

The City Blueprint assessment of UWCS management in 12 cities has been completed in this reporting period, bringing the total to 86 completed assessments. Guidance has been published for the analysis of UWCS governance, for the assessment of cost and adaptation measures, and for multi-objective assessment to enhance sustainable transitions in UWCS.

WP 5 – Dissemination and outreach of the results. The impact of POWER to the
Progress to date has been within the remit of the project and the expectations of the grant agreement. The engagement of users with the DSP and the appetite demonstrated by Follower Cities shows that there is a need and demand for the POWER tools. POWER can really engage citizens with the decision making powers at a municipal level and allow participatory decision and policy designing.

In the Grant Agreement, potential impacts were identified at three levels – innovation, scientific, and social innovation with eight measures identified to help maximise impacts. Some of these are already met (dissemination material, website, social media) many are ongoing (networking and liaisons, external events, dissemination to raise awareness, press releases) and one is due later (final event). The communications and disseminations tab will illustrate the variety of engagement that has taken place. There have been an impressive number of scientific publications submitted and published too.

The four key demonstration cities (KDCs) have identified who the DSP will assist them to engage with directly, listing citizens, volunteer groups, professionals both within and outside of their organisations, politicians, as well as follower cities and broader networks. The KDCs have had workshops, ideas contests etc to really support people to engage with the DSP and mobilise local and social action related to water issues.
Logo for the project