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EURO-LIMPACS — Result In Brief

Project ID: 505540
Funded under: FP6-SUSTDEV

The quest for fresh water

Studying the impacts of climate change on freshwater ecosystems can help Europe overcome this looming challenge and protect its natural resources.
The quest for fresh water
Climate change has become a reality that affects our well-being and threatens our resources. Freshwater ecosystems are particularly in danger throughout the globe, calling for major initiatives to pre-empt a disaster in this respect.

An important part of addressing the issue is assessing the impacts of weather changes. The EU-funded 'Integrated project to evaluate the impacts of global change on European freshwater ecosystems' (EURO-LIMPACS) investigated how changes in weather systems affect freshwater ecosystems in Europe. It aimed to recommend new strategies for revitalising these ecosystems and associated biodiversity of fauna and flora, in line with the European Water Framework Directive (WFD).

The project looked at developing decision support systems (DSS) and models to help stakeholders achieve these aims. It therefore investigated climate and hydromorphology as well as interactions related to rivers, lakes, catchments and habitats, covering restoration and nutrient retention as well. EURO-LIMPACS also identified the interactions between climate and other factors such as eutrophication, toxic substances and acidification. The latter looked at nitrogen, sulphate and dissolved organic carbon, which leach into the water.

importantly, the project established chemical, hydrological, morphological, biological and other indicators to help assess the effects of climate change on wetlands, lakes and rivers. It then developed exploitable databases and online material to further its aims. The most important of these aims was the establishment and validation of reference conditions, as well as restoration targets and strategies.

one of the most valuable project results was development of a set of tools for catchment management and integrated decision support. The tools and data from the project will undoubtedly prove crucial for protecting Europe's water resources and mitigating the effects of climate change.

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