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CNRS in EU Programs

water drop

 Water Development Resources Opportunity Policies for the water management on semi-arid areas

The General Objective: To lead to the enhancement of the water resources management in the territories at Mediterranean Basin level contributing to the promotion of a sustainable improvement of governance processes at local level.

The Specific Objective: To develop an integrated water cycle management approach at the Mediterranean Sea Basin level for managing the related cross-sector issues through the enforcement of multi-stakeholder partnerships, in particular with public and private actors.

Main expected results: A Decision Support System integrated by a Geographical Information System (DSS-GIS) for the water cycle management adopted and implemented in the four target areas. Normative proposals on water management developed leading to the progressive harmonization of the legislation on the issue at Mediterranean level. A better Water Cycle Management achieved in the target areas including: reused water in Palestine, economically improved management of the Italian “Torre Flavia” area (Rome), more efficient water use in three Jordan communities of the Al-Balqa governorate and reduction of water pollution risk in selected Lebanese rivers and sea-related areas.

Population growth, rapid urbanization and industrialization, the expansion of agriculture and tourism, as well as climate change are all factors which put water under increasing stress. The scarcity of this vital resource for human and social development has placed water at the top of the agenda of many Mediterranean countries. Most of the water problems are due to the mismanagement of water resources and to the incoherency among different policies impacting water conservation. In addition, the dialogue between water stakeholders, users and central governments shall be fostered in order to ensure more integrated approaches to developing and managing water resources. To address these challenges, the Water-DROP Project has been designed on the assumption that the main issues to be tackled for efficient water management concern technical-methodological, capacity-building, and normative aspects.

The Water-DROP Project, financed by the EU in the framework of the ENPI CBC Mediterranean Sea Basin Programme, is coordinated by the Italian public institution ENEA and involves nine partners from Italy, Cyprus, Spain, Lebanon, Palestine, Jordan. The project lasts 24 months and has been granted 1.790.567,75°€, representing 90% of the total eligible cost of the project.
Water-DROP aims at developing an Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) approach at Mediterranean Basin level for managing the related cross-sector issues through the enforcement of multi-stakeholder partnerships involving public and private actors. Furthermore, it is developing a GIS-based Decision Supporting System (DSS-GIS) as a powerful tool to support decision-making processes towards the achievement of an integrated approach to water cycle management. 

Water DROP’s Work Package (WP) 5 is dedicated to the implementation of five pilot actions in Italy, Lebanon, Jordan and Palestine. This WP is coordinated by the CNRS-Lebanon that, given its statutory role (public institution assigned at formulating national science and technology policy, initiating, guiding, supporting and conducting scientific research programs and activities) is in a strategic position for ensuring that pilot actions are implemented as turning elements of the development of new political framework. The other Partners involved will guarantee the effective execution of the pilot actions in each country where they are active. 

In the strategy of Water DROP, these pilot actions have a crucial role. On the one hand they represent the project response to the needs of the territories and on the other they are the appropriate tool to put into practice an integrated water cycle management approach and to prepare the ground for multi-stakeholder partnerships. Further to this, data collected will be elaborated, analysed and harmonised to feed – as well as to validate – the GIS-DSS tool. 

In Lebanon, the National Council for Scientific Research (CNRS-L) making use of its Research Vessel CANA-CNRS and with the support of CANA staff and crew, started a monitoring programme on the freshwater/seawater interface assessing the contamination from heavy metals, bacteriological and physic-chemical parameters, organic pollutants and nutrients. Three rivers (Antelias, Ibrahim and Al-Jauz) are investigated to evaluate their relative impact on the marine waters. On the Orontes Basin (Assi River, Hermel) a set of targeted interventions are being implemented (i.e. improvements of 4,5km of sewage system, trout farms management, availability of less impacting inputs and adoption of phyto-depuration systems in trout farms). The Planning and Development Agency (PDA) with the support of the Italian NGO Halieus aims to improve the environmental conditions of Assi River towards the amelioration of local communities leaving conditions and to put bases for a durable and sustainable tourism in the area. 

Sampling design adopted in the data collection in three Lebanese rivers (left). Field data collection at the mouth of the Antelias River (right) described as A1 in the satellite image.

In the Palestinian Authority, the Palestinian Hydrology Group (PHG) and the Spanish NGO Asamblea de Cooperación por la Paz (ACCP) are executing a water treatment plant and monitoring its efficiency. The system is made up by a primary system treating sludge originating from domestic wastewater through anaerobic condition. Treated waters are then collected and depurated in a green system (constructed wetland) and finally utilised for irrigating olive and fruit trees.

In Jordan, practical solutions will be implemented to improve local water management towards the amelioration of livelihood conditions of local residents. The aim of this pilot action is to realise twenty roof collecting systems for houses and schools to be used mainly during the dry season for human consumption and irrigation purposes. Roofs are being refurbished and roof water collecting systems connected to interred cisterns.

In Italy, the auto-depurative capacity of the natural wetland of Torre Flavia (Latium Region) will be evaluated. Torre Flavia is a remarkable wetland for the safeguard of the migratory avifauna and for the preservation of the last stretch of the ancient region called "Maremma". The results of the on-going monitoring campaigns – implemented by ENEA – will be the tool to undertake a feasibility study on the recovery of the wetland testing the application of the DSS on the correlations between local spatial planning and water management.

Awareness campaigns in eighteen schools will be ran in the same areas involved in the pilot actions in Lebanon, Palestine and Jordan and training courses for 25 technicians in each country will focus on data collection methodologies, DSS, and specific issues that may rise in each country.

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