The complexity of current water resource management poses many challenges. Water managers need to solve a range of interrelated water dilemmas, such as balancing water quantity and quality, flooding, drought, maintaining biodiversity and ecological functions and services, in a context where human beliefs, actions and values play a central role. Furthermore, the growing uncertainties of global climate change and the long term implications of management actions make the problems even more difficult. NeWater addresses some of the present and future challenges of water management. The project recognizes the value of highly integrated solutions and advocates integrated water resource management (IWRM) concepts. However, NeWater is based on the hypothesis that IWRM cannot be realized unless current water management regimes undergo a transition towards more adaptive water management.
NeWater Scientific Challenge
NeWater identified key elements of current water management regimes and investigates their interdependence. Research was focused on transformation processes of these elements in the transition to adaptive integrated water resources management. Key IWRM areas of NeWater research included:
- governance in water management (methods to arrive at polycentric, horizontal broad stakeholder participation in IWRM)
- sectoral integration (integration of IWRM and spatial planning; integration with climate change adaptation strategies, cross-sectoral optimisation and cost-benefit analysis)
- scales of analysis in IWRM (methods to resolve water resource use conflicts; transboundary issues)
- information management (multi stakeholder dialogue, multi-agent systems modelling; novel monitoring systems for decision systems in water management)
- infrastructure (innovative methods for river basin buffering capacity; role of storage in adaptation to climate variability and climate extremes)
- finances and risk mitigation strategies in water management (new instruments, role of public-private arrangements in risk-sharing)
- stakeholder participation (promoting new ways of bridging science, policy and implementation)
More information on the results can be found in a broach range of products, reports and booklets. Please consult the menue on the left hand side for details.