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Bringing INnovation to onGOing water management – A better future under climate change

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Fresh approach to water management helps mitigate effects of climate change

Climate change impacts include an increasing risk of heavy rain and extreme droughts, which can have a devastating effect on ecosystems, water quality and society. Hence, there is an urgent need to find ways to mitigate the damage caused by these extreme weather events.

Climate Change and Environment

The EU-funded BINGO project developed solutions for several specific climate-related challenges for highly vulnerable water resources of strategic importance. “Water managers and other stakeholders are provided with information on specific climate scenarios at a space/time resolution that fits their needs, enabling them to act at the local, regional and European level,” says project coordinator, Rafaela de Saldanha Matos. Consortium members studied six research sites in northern and southern Europe, covering a representative range of climatic conditions and water cycles at local and regional scales in Europe over various timescales. They produced guidelines to create and enhance a win-win collaboration between researchers and stakeholders and addressed common problems. “These included floods and droughts, the need for water quality, and competing demands for water from agriculture, urban centres, tourism, and the need for water security,” explains Matos.

A Europe-wide effort

Project partners developed knowledge and tools for a more efficient management of water resources in Europe, exemplified by the online portfolio of adaptation measures for use by end users, water managers, and decision and policymakers affected by climate change, enabling them to better cope with all climate projections, including extreme weather events. “To place research at the service of society, BINGO engaged individual farmers in Cyprus and large water management organisations in Germany; irrigation authorities and associations in Portugal, water utilities in Portugal and Norway and municipalities and a metropolitan authority in Spain,” Matos explains. Soil moisture and wildlife protection were studied in the Netherlands and specific field equipment designed and installed for onsite measurements. Cyprus followed the methodology and equipment used to better assess droughts. Matos notes: “These examples reflect the rich diversity of climate, land uses, identities, legal and institutional frameworks, organisations and levels of commitments within the project. All of them gained new information, understanding and preparedness to the future.”

Benefits include transferability and better communication

One of BINGO’s greatest strengths is its transferability to other fields due to the involvement of stakeholders from different backgrounds. “Whether you are a researcher looking for data or methodologies, a policymaker seeking support for decision-making, technical staff from water management, supply, or agriculture trying to understand how to plan for the future, or even if you are none of these but simply worried about climate change impacts on water in your municipality, you will find relevant support from the knowledge produced by the project,” comments Matos. BINGO has contributed significantly to improved communication between researchers and non-researchers, and increased awareness of the effects of climate change on floods and droughts, with the organisation of several events directed to the general public and a worldwide dissemination of the project’s results. “We have created a new and global approach to dealing with climate action and the management of the integrated water cycle that can be followed by others in Europe and all over the world. We have also provided guidelines to enhance win-win collaborations between researchers and stakeholders,” Matos concludes.

Keywords

BINGO, climate change, water cycle, drought, floods, tool, extreme weather event

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