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Sustaining freshwater supplies in the Mediterranean

In many parts of the world, including the Mediterranean, there isn't enough fresh water to go around. It is therefore imperative that the limited sources of fresh water in the Mediterranean region are used in a sustainable fashion.
Sustaining freshwater supplies in the Mediterranean
The Mediterranean has been identified as a region particularly sensitive to climate change. Changes in precipitation patterns could exacerbate problems that its inhabitants already face concerning a lack of reliable freshwater resources.

The 'Sustainable management of Mediterranean coastal fresh and transitional water bodies: a socio-economic and environmental analysis of changes and trends to enhance and sustain stakeholder benefits' (WADI) project, which received funding from the EU, brought together researchers from all sides of the Mediterranean to address this issue. Several case studies were selected, examining different types of bodies of freshwater in countries spread throughout the region.

Research into the number and type of users of these precious resources was conducted. Meetings with key stakeholders were arranged and an effort was made to establish two-way communication. Historical, gender-based and even archaeological data was collected and incorporated into a geographical information system (GIS). Geo- and time-referencing of the data enabled detailed spatial and temporal analysis of the data.

Recommendations arising from the study were made and shared with the local government and population. It should be noted that the alternative management scenarios are applicable to other areas as well.

Finally, an effort was made to extend the network of experts created during WADI beyond the end of the project. Working with the local contacts established in the context of the case studies, the network can continue the search for a sustainable solution.

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