New approaches to adaptive water management under uncertainty - NeWater (2005-2009)

Funding body: European Commission (Framework 6)

The central tenet of the NeWater project is a transition from currently prevailing regimes of river basin water management into more adaptive regimes in the future. This transition calls for a highly integrated water resources management concept. NeWater identifies key typical elements of the current water management system and focuses its research on processes of transition of these elements to adaptive IWRM.

Each key element is studied by novel approaches. Key IWRM areas where NeWater is expected to deliver breakthrough results include:

  • 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 resource use conflicts; transboundary issues)
  • information management (multi stakeholder dialogue, multi-agent systems modelling; role of games in decision making; 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 between science, policy and implementation

The development of concepts and tools that guide an integrated analysis and support a stepwise process of change in water management is the corner-stone of research activities in the NeWater project. To achieve its objectives the project is structured into six work blocks, and it adopts a management structure that allows effective exchange between innovative and cutting edge research on integrative water management concepts, with practical applications and testing through participatory stakeholder processes in selected river basins.

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