| Project objectives:
NeWater is an ambitious integrated project that necessarily begins with a new understanding among its diverse partners, to be achieved through:
Objective 1. To develop a conceptual framework for research and adaptive management of river basins that integrates natural science, engineering and social
science concepts and methodologies.
The founding principle of NeWater is the co-development and co-application of innovative methods in purposely selected river basins, a goal which is to
be achieved through following two objectives:
Objective 2. To apply the NeWater knowledge and tools in transboundary river basins, with special emphasis on EU Water Framework Directive and Water Initiative
Objective 3. To develop protocols and tools for stakeholder engagement and analysis in participatory research and management of IWRM.
The core aim of NeWater is to understand and promote transitions to enhanced adaptive strategies for integrated water resource management. This is expressed
in specific objectives:
Objective 4. To analyse the role of key factors including governance, participation and spatial planning for the transition to adaptive management of river
Objective 5. To develop approaches that integrate poverty alleviation, gender awareness and health planning in the adaptive management of river basins.
Objective 6. To develop a range of tools to assess and manage the transition to adaptive management tailored to the institutional, cultural, environmental,
technological settings of river basins.
Assessing adaptive management and progress towards it implementation entails understanding current vulnerability and adaptive capacity:
Objective 7. To compile a baseline of present vulnerability and adaptive capacity of river basins that integrates exposure to present socio-institutional,
economic and environmental stresses and shocks
Objective 8. To assess current practice in IWRM and draw lessons for the transfer of new scientific methodologies for IWRM practitioners.
Objective 9. To analyse and classify major sources of uncertainty in IWRM and their implications for management.
The baseline understanding must be based in robust science:
Objective 10. To develop a sound scientific foundation for managing uncertainties, interactions across scales, integration across sectors and exposure
to future stresses for climate resources, conflicts between water quantity, water quality and ecosystem services.
Objective 11. To develop a range of tools to assess vulnerability and adaptive capacity that supports transitions to effective adaptive management of river
Objective 12. To explore the influence of system structure and external shocks, stresses, and trends on adaptive capacity, resilience, and vulnerability
Objective 13. To analyse scenarios of future vulnerability and adaptive capacity of river basins in order to provide end points of transitions to adaptive
The wealth of experience gained in the NeWater research and applications will support a broader and more knowledgeable community of researchers, practitioners
and policy makers. These objectives encompass our synthesis and major deliverables:
Objective 14. To deliver a comprehensive methodology and protocol for its use that demonstrates best practice in using innovative tools for adaptive management
drawn from the NeWater case studies
Objective 15. To develop an innovative toolkit and guidance for practitioners in applying methods for the adaptive water management of river basins.
Objective 16. To share experience and innovations in dialogues, publications and action, to further the European Research Area and to support the implementation
of the Water Framework Directive and EU Water Initiative.
Objective 17. To initiate an world-wide research to application platform for effective scientific and cross-policy cooperation in dealing with the high
complexity and limited predictability of integrated water resources management on a river basin scale that contributes to constructive dialogues with the
Global Water Partnership (GWP), World Water Council (WWC), International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and other efforts.
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.