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How to transfer regional experiences with combatting water stress to other regions ?

Congress: 2008
Author(s): J. Buma, J. Griffioen, M. Manez, E. Moors, E. Preziosi, C. Sullivan
TNO Built Environment and Geosciences / Geological Survey of the Netherlands P.O. Box 80015 3508 TA Utrecht The Netherlands Tel: +31 30 256 4804 Fax: +31 30 256 4855 E-Mail:

Keyword(s): water stress, indicators, knowledge transfer, data retrieval
AbstractIntroduction Regions with similar water stress may need similar mitigating measures to solve the problem. In the EC-funded project Aquastress (2005-2009), strategies are developed to transfer knowledge and experience in combatting water stress between regions. Similarity between regions is determined by characterizing the water stress problem using a set of indicators. Three types of indicators are distinguished: for natural conditions, for water stress, and for mitigation options. The indicator information set consists of regional-scale data, combined with local data from the Aquastress test sites. Regional-scale data is generally more widely and easily available than local data. The presented study focuses on the retrieval of regional data on water stress and mitigation options, and to what extent these data would be applicable without additional local information. Objective The study objective is to generate meaningful sets of regional indicator data that can serve as a basis for characterising water-stress within an international context. More specifically, the aim is to determine which indicator data are applicable at regional scales using generally available geo-information, and which need to be collected locally. Methods First, a conceptually meaningful set of water stress indicators was developed within the Aquastress project. Subsequently, data queries were carried out into on-line databases of Eurostat, and national statistical services, national environmental offices, etc. in Italy, Cyprus, Bulgaria, and The Netherlands. In case no data could be found, alternative indicators were identified. Validation will subsequently carried out by confronting the water stress problem, as identified from the retrieved indicator data set, with the perception of the local stakeholders at the test sites. This is an important step because it determines the applicability of the method. Results Regional data on at least NUTS-2 level (Nomenclature of Territorial Units for Statistics, see could be found for roughly two-thirds of the required water stress indicators. Part of the remaining indicators could be replaced by alternatives, resulting in data sets that are sufficiently complete for validation. However, different alternatives had to be identified for the countries considered, which complicates the construction of an homogeneous international database. In one of the countries, only national data are presented on-line; substantial effort would be required to obtain the underlying, more detailed data. Another important finding is that no information was found about implemented mitigation options, and their degree of success. This means that the Aquastress test sites cannot draw on past water stress mitigation experiences. Furthermore, the assumption that regions with similar water stress may need similar mitigating measures can not be validated. Conclusion In countries where regional data are available on-line, sufficient indicator information may be retrieved to perform a decent validation of the characterization of water stress with local perceptions. These validations will be carried out in the next year. The general lack of quantitative and objective information on the success or failure of mitigation options calls for opening-up the possibly large potential of water stress mitigation experiences from past (inter)national projects.
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