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NEWATER — Result In Brief

Project ID: 511179
Funded under: FP6-SUSTDEV
Country: Germany

Integrated management approach for the river basin

The river basin environment is not merely a water catchment area, it represents a complex socioeconomic system. A European initiative has studied and applied an adaptive integrated water resources management (AWM) approach in case studies of basins in three continents.
Integrated management approach for the river basin
The challenge of managing river basins in Africa, central Asia and Europe was taken up by the 'New approaches to adaptive water management under uncertainty' (Newater) project. Project researchers adopted a strategy where AWM takes into account the socio-ecological nature of river basins in policy development and implementation.

A total of 39 interdisciplinary partners from 15 countries applied AWM through the case studies of 7 basins, Amudarya in central Asia, and the Elbe, Tisza, Rhine and Guadiana in Europe. Representing Africa, the Nile and the Orange river basins also came under the ambitious scheme.

The crux of AWM is that learning is achieved through repeated testing and improving of methods of analysis leading to the evolution of management policies and practices. Another important feature of the model is that the strategies are robust and perform well under a number of potential development scenarios as well as embracing uncertain future events.

In practice, this means that AWM necessitates more scenario planning. These strategies were tailored to the institutional, cultural, environmental and technological settings of river basins The integrated approach also incorporated the needs and goals of all stakeholders in collaboration with scientific partners and other experts.

Work packages were carefully planned to focus on the whole range of issues. These included transition to adaptive management and any endemic vulnerabilities within river basin socioeconomics. Some of the researchers focused on project coordination and management, a dynamic area in view of the nature of AWM.

Newater drew up guidance publications and developed tools for all levels of river basin management and produced international expert and thematic platforms. All public products are easily accessible on the Newater website. The updated project flyer giving details of a CD for training, an online teaching curriculum and the guidebook, for example, is available in no less than 13 languages.

Overall, the Newater initiative has produced more than 200 deliverables spanning the seemingly infinite scope of AWM of river basins.

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