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Be aware of the latest news, events and ongoing projects.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

FP7 call on environment presented in Brussels

Either the seminar was a big success or the room was too small, but the participants report that the place was packed
The Commission has organised an RTD Environment Infoday in Brussels, to present the call FP7-ENV-2010. All calls will be closed the 5th January 2010.

Documents available in:

Let's start the partner hunting!
Upload your project ideas in this blog. Write to mortiz@delcomval.be

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

A company proposes new technology to transport water by undersea pipe

The system is named submariver®. Its principle consists in taking of fresh water from river mouths, which can be, at least partially, abstracted just upstream the salt wedge without significant impact (no more downstream issues). It is then transported by underwater pipes parallel to the coast (across the sea for islands).

The system is in phase of development, and could be implemented in pilot projects. The company is in contact with several regional and state authorities.

This patented system is structured around a special and very flexible pipe that adapts to the seabed profile without preparation of the ground. It is laid on the sea bottom (typically at 200m depth) and ballasted. At destination in coastal areas, it is distributed through the local network after usage-specific treatment.

This system can also be used to transport farther away water flowing out of sewage treatment plants in coastal areas that pour their treated water into the sea and where there is no local reuse demand. Usually, these flows are much smaller than those available at river mouths, but they should nevertheless be considered as well, albeit cautiously in light of their real post treatment quality.

According to the company, the main characteristics of this system are as follows:
1. Its prices are low (0.1 – 0.3€/m3 in most cases). Delivery of fresh water at an economical price satisfactorily meets large demands, especially agricultural uses.

2. Its energy consumption is less than 0.2kWh/m3 in most cases, which is about 5% of the energy necessary for seawater desalination.

3. Its construction can be conducted in 1 to 2 years in most cases as the laying pace is about 2km per day. An over investment of 15% at the outset typically brings the flexibility to meet a 50% increase in demand over time.

4. It is simple and sturdy which allows operation by workforce with lower qualification, without external technological dependence.

A representative of the company, Mr Felix Bogliolo, presented the device in the last meeting of Wateregio last July.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

AER Summer School on TV

AER Summer School on EU Observer

Spanish region pushes for intelligent water use

Valencia's sewage water is filtered and re-used to irrigate rice fields (Photo: EUobserver)

31.08.2009 @ 17:34 CET

EUOBSERVER/VALENCIA – The Spanish region of Valencia is lobbying for the EU to develop a policy to promote the "intelligent" use of water using the renewable energy model, as world consumption of water will triple in the next ten years.

In the marshes of Albufera, just a few kilometres south of the city of Valencia, it is hard to believe that the region is frequently hit by drought and has a long tradition of dealing with water scarcity. Separated from the Mediterranean Sea by a natural sand barrier, the 27 square kilometre fresh water lake is surrounded by swamps and rice fields. "Paella has to come from somewhere," a guide tells visitors to the national park of Albufera.

One steady source of irrigation for the rice crops is waste water from Valencia, a city of 800,000 inhabitants. A sewage water treatment plant worth €15 million was 80 percent financed by the EU's regional development fund and is expected to last until 2025.

Intelligent irrigation systems and the re-use of rain and waste water are just some examples of what the local university and research centres are developing and implementing in the region.

As global water consumption is expected to grow threefold in the next ten years and energy consumption to double in the same period, the EU needs to be more active in this field, says Juan Manuel Revuelta, Valencia's point-man in Brussels.

"We would like to see that in some years from now, the EU commission creates an initiative called 'intelligent water for Europe' - that means a better management of water and better communication, similar to what it is doing with renewable energy," he told this website on the margins of a summer school called „Water – engagement for our future" organised by the Assembly of European Regions in Valencia on 24-28 August.

Mr Revuelta said he was pleased to see 15 concrete projects sealed between various European regions and aimed at tapping EU funds coming from the event.

"One project is on drafting legislation at regional and national level facilitating ecodesign constructions which enable people to collect rain water for a second use in irrigation or for the toilets," he said.

Malta and Valencia are participating in the project, but some other non-EU members, such as Jordan, also expressed their interest.

Valencia's 700 year old experience with the so-called Water Courts is used in another project for legislative and governance tools aimed at preventing and settling water-related conflicts in Israel and Palestine. The Valencian water tribunal consists of seven elected judges gathering every Thursday in a a public square and settling disputes between farmers. Its verdicts are binding, recognised by the Spanish constitution and cannot be challenged in another court.

Water on the EU agenda

Polish MEP Danuta Hubner, chairwoman of the regional development committee, says water will be a "major priority" of EU regional policy.

"There are regions that will require specific responses, which will be more affected than others by droughts, floods or water scarcity," she said. "That is why, more than ever, the European regional policy 2007-2013 will be ambitious in its environmental initiatives at local and regional level."

Ms Hubner mentioned the Baltic Sea strategy drawn up while she was commissioner for regional affairs, which is aimed at saving the sea from dying if the regions around it coordinate their environmental actions.

Klaus Klipp, secretary general of the Assembly of European Regions, emphasized the need to create regional lobbies to stand up for common European issues, such as water scarcity and droughts. Choosing Spain as the location for this summer school was no accident as the southern country is EU's most threatened member by desertification and drought.
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© 2009 EUobserver.com. All rights reserved. Printed on 01.09.2009.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Millán Millán: “Research showed that torrential rains in the Mediterranean were increasing at the same time that Atlantic rains were decreasing”

Dr Millán in the Spanish press this week

Dr. Millán Millán, director of the Center for Environmental Studies in the Mediterranean (CEAM), participated today in the 14th Summer School of the Assembly of European Regions, hold in Valencia this week.

During his speech, Mr. Millán lectured on the historical trend of changes in rainfall cycles in the Mediterranean basin, affecting the rains all over Europe. Specifically, the scientific pointed out that as early as the year 1974 the European Commission started its research on atmospheric pollution, which led to findings on the lack of summer storms in the Mediterranean.

"European Commission DG Environment discovered that torrential rains in the Mediterranean were increasing at the same time that Atlantic rains were decreasing", stated Dr. Millán.

According to this expert, "the Mediterranean has a unique atmospheric circulation system in which water vapor goes up to the mountain and comes back to the sea without rainfalls". The importance of this model justifies that "the European Commission has earmarked 200 million euro to study this phenomenon".

Dr. Millán is, besides the director of CEAM since its creation in 1990, author of 96 scientific publications and other works. He is member of several international and European scientific committees and has received an honorary doctorate from Universidad Miguel Hernández from Elche (Alicante-Spain).

The CEAM has worked with Wateregio in drafting the project proposal 'Waterstar' for the last Interreg MED call.

Hübner in “Deep Water” at AER Summer School in Valencia

L. to R.: Mr Klipp, SG of the AER, Ms Hübner, MEP Chairwoman of the Committee REGI, and Mr Ripoll, Valencian Regional Deputy Minister in charge of EU affairs

Valencia (E), 28th August 2009.

In her first speech as chairwoman of the European Parliament’s Committee for Regional Development, Danuta Hübner has said that water will be a “major priority” of the EU’s Regional Policy. “There are regions that will require specific responses, which will be more affected than others by droughts, floods or water scarcity,” Ms H
übner said today. “That is why, more than ever, the European regional policy 2007-2013 will be ambitious in its environmental initiatives at local and regional level.” Ms Hübner was speaking on the final day of the Assembly of European Regions’ (AER) 14th annual Summer School, hosted by the Spanish region of Valencia.

Focusing this year on water issues, the week-long event in the city of Valencia brought together around 150 regional politicians, officers and young people, along with international experts and EU officials, to address the many challenges related to water.

AER president Michèle Sabban, speaking earlier this week, said: “We are not in Valencia by accident. Spain is the European country most threatened by desertification and drought.” “By bringing young people together with experts and politicians to discuss this increasingly global problem, we hope to promote a new “water culture” in the regions. The young people here can take back to the regions what they have learnt this week, thereby raising awareness among peers who will face the consequences tomorrow of what we do today.”

The summer school featured expert speakers, roundtables and workshops, along with study visits where participants could see firsthand the Valencia region’s expertise in water management.

Valencia’s deputy minister for European affairs, Rafael Ripoll, noted that the region of Valencia, whose strong commitment to addressing water scarcity has made it a European leader in the field, is the “perfect framework to talk about promoting the better use of water across all the European regions.” Background The proper management of water plays a key role in maintaining biodiversity, human health as well as in economic and social development. The “blue” challenge is of huge importance as the world enters a water crisis. Safe access to water for all is one of the Millennium Goals, while water savings can be improved by around 40% in Europe.

By bringing together decision makers, officials and young people, the AER Summer School in Valencia aimed to provide the tools to regions to tackle the challenges of water management. Participants were able to share experiences, develop new instruments to raise awareness and define strategies to contribute to creating a water-saving culture across the regions of Europe.

Find more information about initiatives in the field of water at:
Find more information about AER’s 14th Summer School at:

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Opening ot the AER Summer School on water

AER secretary-general Klaus Klipp underlined in his speech at the 14th AER Summer School opening in Valencia the paramount importance that cooperation between regions in EU programmes and projects plays in tackling climate change.

Mr. Klipp emphasised the need to create regional lobbies to stand up for common European issues, such as water scarcity and droughts. He also noted that AER is currently developing several projects in the field, related to tourism, renewable energies and climate change.

Together with the director-general of the Valencian Regional Office in Brussels, Juan Manuel Revuelta, Mr. Klipp explained the goals of the 14th AER Summer School, which this year has gathered over 150 participants from across wider Europe to discuss policies related to water and climate change.

Since 1996, AER’s summer schools have been bringing together politicians and other representatives from youth civil society and regional authorities, along with European and regional experts, to explore a different topic every year.

At this year’s event, Mr. Revuelta highlighted the commitment of the Valencian Region to “face the problem of water scarcity, droughts and desertification which affects our region, as well as other places in the south of Europe”.

Mr. Revuelta also supported the major role of interregional cooperation in addressing this situation. The director-general further explained that “Fundación Comunidad Valenciana – Región Europea has attracted 66 million euro to the Valencian Region in European funding, mainly in projects related to environment and energy efficiency”.

For this reason, Mr. Revuelta stated that “the Valencian Region leads the way in obtaining European environmental projects”.

He also stressed the role of the Fundación in establishing European partnerships in water issues, such as Wateregio, the European Water Network, which brings together 10 regions committed to finding solutions against water scarcity and droughts.

Specifically, the programme ENPI Mediterranean Basin has launched a new call, to be closed on October 20th, which welcomes the submission of projects in the field of cross-border cooperation. Likewise, the programme Life + has launched another call, to be closed on September 15th; Ecoinnovation, to be closed early September, and EuropAid, which allocates 70 million euro for initiative regarding environment, renewable energies and energy efficiency.

AER contacts:
Jascha Scheele j.scheele@aer.eu
Wateregio contact:
Alfonso Alcolea aalcolea@delcomval.be

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Félicitations à la Région PACA

World Water Forum 2012 in Marseille!

On Friday, the World Water Council selected Marseille (France) as the city and country to host the 2012 World Water Forum. The selection followed a process for evaluating the candidates and a final vote from the Council's Board of Governors. The World Water Forum is the world's largest water gathering that brings together over 20,000 political leaders, NGOs, government officials, water professionals, and scientists every three years.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Meeting next Thursday 25th June

Date: 25th June 2009. 17h30.
Venue: Room JDE53 - Committee of the Regions. Rue Belliard 99-101 Brussels.

Provisional Agenda: (version 1, as proposed the 18th May)

The meeting will be hold simultaneously to the Zero Plus conference.
Please check the agenda of the Zero Plus seminar, as the speakers may be of your interest.

17:30 - 18:00
Welcome and project forum corner.

Round Table about new answers for water treatment in the industrial sector; future collaboration and new sustainable project ideas.

Moderator: Mr Alfonso Alcolea
Proposals. ENPI project on water management “Water communities”.
LIFE+ project - Wateregio. FP7 on conductions of water

18:00 Closed-door meeting.

§ Approval of the record of activities.
§ Report about legal personality of Wateregio.
§ New steering committee.
§ Other business

Friday, June 12, 2009

Annual bathing water report 2009

Bathing water quality improving
The annual bathing water report was presented the 11th June by the European Commission and the European Environment Agency reveals that the large majority of bathing sites across the European Union met EU hygiene standards in 2008. During that bathing season some 96% of coastal bathing areas and 92% of bathing sites in rivers and lakes complied with minimum standards. The report provides useful water quality information for the millions of people who visit Europe's beaches every summer.
Bathing water quality shows a long-term upward trend
Every summer millions of Europeans head for the beach to enjoy the sun and to cool down in refreshing clean water. To allow Europeans to make an informed choice on which beach to choose, the Commission publishes a yearly report on the quality of coastal and freshwater bathing areas as reported by Member States for the beaches located within their territory. This year the report was prepared by the European Environment Agency (EEA), which is also making available on its website maps and tables with detailed information on specific bathing areas.

In 2008 the number of bathing waters monitored increased by some 75 sites. Of the 21,400 bathing areas monitored throughout the European Union in 2008 two thirds were on the coast and the rest were along rivers and lakes. The largest number of coastal bathing waters can be found in Italy, Greece, France, Spain and Denmark while Germany and France have the highest number of inland bathing waters .
The overall quality of bathing waters in the EU has markedly improved since 1990. Compliance with mandatory values ( minimum quality requirements) increased over the 1990 to 2008 period from 80% to 96% and from 52% to 92% in coastal and inland waters respectively. From 2007 to 2008 compliance increased both for inland and coastal waters (1.1 and 3.3 percentage points respectively).
Twelve Member States monitoring under the new bathing directive
Bathing areas are zones where bathing is explicitly authorised or where bathing is traditionally practised by a large number of bathers and is not prohibited.
To determine their quality bathing waters are tested against a number of physical, chemical and microbiological parameters for which the Bathing Water Directive
1 sets out mandatory values. Member States must comply with the mandatory values but may adopt the stricter standards and non-binding guide values .

In 2006 a new bathing water directive
2 took effect which updated the parameters and monitoring provisions in line with the latest scientific knowledge. The new Directive places greater emphasis on providing information to the public on the quality of bathing areas. Member States have until 2015 to fully implement the new Directive but twelve Member States (Cyprus, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Slovakia, Spain and Sweden) already monitored their bathing areas during the 2008 bathing season according to the parameters of the new Directive.
The report
A summary of the report and detailed country reports are available in English on the Commission’s bathing water website at:

Zoomable maps of all European bathing areas can be viewed on the EEA website :

1 :Directive 76/160/EEC on the quality of bathing water
2 :Directive 2006/7/EC on the management of bathing water quality

Monday, June 8, 2009

U@MARENOSTRUM, strengthening Public Participation for water protection and management

The Valencian Region works together with regions from France and Greece to promote citizen's partiticipation for European issues
A new e-Participation project called U@MARENOSTRUM has been started this year. The project is co-funded by the European Commission within the e-Participation Call for Proposals 2008 and aims to involve citizens and local actors (community groups, associations etc.) from the Mediterranean costal zones in decision-making processes with the help of ICT (Information and Communication Technologies) and GIS (Geographic Information System). These processes have to do with the adoption and implementation of water and marine environmental protection policies and legislations in the Mediterranean region in accordance with the European Union (EU) environmental legislation. The project will be developed between 1st of January 2009-31st of December 2009 by cooperation of the following entities: : GFI Benelux, Gov2u (Greece), The Region of Ionian Islands (Greece), Hellenic Centre for Marine Research– Greece, Foundation Comunidad Valenciana-Región Europea (Spain), The Community of French Riviera (France) and Directorate General for Modernization of Valencia (Spain).

The project will lead to the development of a user friendly portal that captures information on a geographical map. The citizens will be able to register and post their views about water issues by placing flags with written comments to appropriate locations on the maps that will exist on this portal. Additionally they will be able to participate in discussion forums on specific policy issues that will be proposed by the local or national authorities or by them. In order to contact and directly interact with the decision-makers, citizens will be able to use online petitions and letters to officials in which they can express their views, concerns and questions related to environmental issues. The platform will also feature a section that visualizes the different stages of the legislative process in a graphical matrix - from the introduction of a new topic, to the consultation process, the discussion and the passing of a draft bill in the local or regional Council or in the Parliament.

Trial applications during a period of 14 months will be conducted in 3 end-user locations around the Mediterranean region; namely the Region on Ionian Islands (Greece), the French Riviera (France) and the Region of Valencia (Spain). Three internet platforms will be hosted at the end of August 2009 in the participating regions and will be given a regional ‘look and feel’ (including language) to ensure users’ participation. The platforms will be specifically designed to serve the citizens from the participating regions, but citizens from other regions of these countries will be welcome to use the platforms, as well.

In order to identify the best ways to increase the participation of the citizens in this project, a study has already been developed in order to analyze the attitudes of the citizens from the participating countries regarding their participation in environmental decision-making. At the same time, during March, a survey has been conducted among more than 150 citizens and public officials from the participating countries, in order to accurately gather the users’ requirements and needs regarding the functionality of the U@Marenostrum platform, so as to ensure its sufficiency in its utility.

For further information about the U@Marenostrum project you are welcome to visit the project’s website: www.uatmarenostrum.eu

La Comunitat Valenciana promueve la participación ciudadana en la gestión del agua

Este año ha empezado un nuevo proyecto llamado U@MARENOSTRUM. Este proyecto cofinanciado por la Comisión Europea en el marco de la Convocatoria 2008 del Programa e-Participation tiene como objetivo implicar a los ciudadanos y agentes locales de la zona costera Mediterránea (asociaciones, grupos de interés, etc.), a través de las Tecnologías de la Información y la Comunicación (TIC) y los Sistemas de Información Geográfica (SIG) en el proceso en el legislativo necesario para la adopción e implementación de las políticas y la normativa de protección del agua y del medio marino en la región mediterránea de acuerdo con la legislación medioambiental de la Unión Europea. El proyecto se desarrollará desde el 1 de enero de 2009 hasta el 31 de diciembre de 2010 con la cooperación de las siguientes entidades: GFI (Bélgica), Gov2u (Grecia), la Región de las Islas Jónicas, (Grecia), el Centro Helenístico de Investigación Marina (Grecia), la Fundación Comunidad Valenciana-Región Europea (España), la Comunidad de la Riviera Francesa (Francia) y la Dirección General de Modernización de la Conselleria de Justicia y Administraciones Públicas de la Comunidad Valenciana (España).

El proyecto desarrollará una plataforma sencilla de utilizar que contendrá toda la información en un mapa geográfico. Los ciudadanos podrán registrarse y opinar sobre cuestiones relativas al agua ubicando banderas con comentarios sobre localizaciones recogidas en un mapa que estará disponible en la plataforma. Además los usuarios podrán participar en foros de debate relativos a temas políticos concretos propuestos por entidades locales o nacionales o por los mismos ciudadanos. Para poder contactar e interactuar directamente con los políticos, los ciudadanos podrán utilizar varias herramientas como peticiones online y enviar cartas a los políticos en las que podrán expresar sus puntos de vista, inquietudes y preguntas relativas a aspectos medioambientales. La plataforma contará también con una herramienta para visualizar los diferentes pasos del proceso legislativo en un gráfico, desde la introducción de un nuevo tema, hasta el proceso consultivo, el debate y la aprobación de un anteproyecto.

Durante catorce meses se realizará un período de pruebas en tres regiones europeas de la zona mediterránea: la Región de las Islas Jónicas (Grecia), la Rivera Francesa (Francia) y la Comunitat Valenciana. A finales de agosto de 2009 dichas regiones dispondrán de una plataforma regional adaptada a las necesidades de cada territorio (incluido el lenguaje) para asegurar la participación de los usuarios. Las plataformas estarán diseñadas para atender a los ciudadanos de las regiones participantes, aunque los ciudadanos de otras regiones o países también están invitados al uso de las mismas.

Con el objetivo de identificar la mejor manera de incrementar la participación de los ciudadanos en este proyecto, previamente se ha desarrollado un estudio que analiza las actitudes de los ciudadanos de estas tres regiones ante la participación ciudadana en el proceso legislativo en materia medioambiental. Paralelamente, durante el mes de marzo, se ha realizado una encuesta a más de 150 ciudadanos y representantes políticos de las regiones participantes para recabar los requisitos y necesidades de los ciudadanos en cuanto a la funcionalidad de la plataforma U@Marenostrum y con ello asegurar su utilidad.

Para más información sobre el proyecto U@Marenostrum visite la página web del proyecto: www.uatmarenostrum.eu

Monday, May 25, 2009

Commission organises workshop on climate change 17-18 June

The European Commission, DG Environment, is organizing a two-days workshop on Regional Climate Change Adaptation Strategies and Climate Change Vulnerability Indicators, to be held on 17 - 18 June 2009 in Brussels, Belgium.

The European Commission recently presented a White Paper outlining the framework for adaptation measures and policies to reduce the European Union's vulnerability to the impacts of climate change:
Two key elements of the action plan proposed for the first phase 2009-12 are the development of vulnerability and adaptation indicators, and the capacity building of regional and local authorities.

On the first day (Wednesday 17 June, 9:30-17:30), regional climate adaptation strategies will be discussed. The objectives are 1) to present and discuss the current EU situation with regard to the regional climate adaptation strategies; and 2) to present and discuss guidelines or toolbox to support regions to develop climate adaptation strategies.

On the second day (Thursday 18 June, 9:30-16:00), the discussion will be about assessing and developing vulnerability indicators for the EU. The objectives are 1) to present and discuss the findings of the literature review and data scoping exercise; and 2) to review and discuss a set of options for the further development and elaboration of vulnerability indicators at regional or sectoral level.

This workshop is organized in co-ordination with EEA’s 3rd EIONET workshop on Climate Change Impacts, Vulnerability and Adaptation (Copenhague, 30 June – 1 July 2009) and EEA’s Expert workshop on Vulnerability mapping adaptation indicators (Copenhagen, 2-3 July 2009). The focus of the present workshops will on the "end-user" perspective at EU, regional, local and sectoral level.

Participants to the workshop are representative from national, regional and local authorities as well as experts from European Commission services. Participation is free of charge, no reimbursement of travel expenses is foreseen.
The deadline to confirm participation is Wednesday 3 June 2009 to Stefanie Wurm by e-mail (climate_adaptation@ecologic-events.de). A detailed agenda and background documents will be available shortly on: http://www.ecologic-events.eu/climate_adaptation

For further information:

Mr Jacques Delsalle
European Commission
DG Environment Unit D.2. Protection of Water and Marine Environment

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Wateregio to celebrate general open meeting the 25th June in the Committee of the Regions, Brussels

NOTE (22/May): The date initially foreseen was the 24th June. The Committee of the Regions has confirmed the availability of the room the 25th June. Therefore the date is changed to the last day of the Green Week.

Wateregio work meeting last 18th May

During the meeting of Wateregio last 18th May, the main decisions were the following ones:
  • Approve the record of activities 2008-2009. Acknowledgement to the Istrian Region for organising decentralised activities, and to the members of the Steering Committee.
  • Information about cooperations with the AER and the CRPM, in particular the AER Summer Schoool open to registrations and to contributions.
  • Wateregio will submit a proposal for LIFE+ governance and communication, to be funded as a network. Other project proposals were studied in the meeting.
The next meeting of Wateregio will take place the afternoon of the 25th June, during the Green Week, in the Committee of the Regions. This meeting will be open to all the regions and possible parties who could potentially be members of Wateregio. Also Ambassadors from Mediterranean countries will be invited to participate in a project forum corner.
Politically, the network will contribute to the works of the European Commission on water scarcity and droughts by submitting examples of best practices in the questionnaires sent by DG Environment, and will study the working document SEC (2009) 386 on Climate Change and Water, Coasts and Marine Issues, annex to the White Paper on Adaptation to Climate Change.

Finally, the deadline for the partners to agree with the text of the project of statutes of Wateregio as AISBL expires next 8th June. The intention is to sign the statutes officially in the meeting of 25th June in Brussels. 8th June is also the indicative deadline for the members to express their interest to be part of the Steering Committee.
For more information, the secretariat is available at aalcolea@delcomval.be

Friday, May 15, 2009

Wateregio meeting 18th May

Date: 18th May 2009. 14h30.
Venue: Valencian Regional Office in Brussels, Rue de la Loi 227, 4th Floor, B-1040 Brussels.

Provisional Agenda: (version 2, as proposed the 13th May)

  1. Welcome.
  2. Presentation and approval of the record of activities of Wateregio.
  3. Information about open calls for proposals: LIFE+, Ecoinnovation, ENPI, and discussion about the projects.
  4. Debate on statutes and constitution of Foundation.
  5. Questionnaires of the European Commission on water scarcity and droughts.
  6. Project CHANCE-Europeaid.
  7. Composition of the new Steering Committee.
  8. General open meeting during the Green Week
  9. Other business.

This is an internal meeting of Wateregio. The network will organize an open event during the Green Week, the 24th June (date to be confirmed)

Registration: aalcolea@delcomval.be

Thursday, April 30, 2009

SAVE THE DATE: 18th May, general meeting

Wateregio will celebrate its general meeting next 18th May in the afternoon in Brussels.

Please, save it in your agendas.


1. Open calls and project opportunities: Ecoinnovation, LIFE+, ENPI.
2. Project forum corner: Bring your project ideas!
3. Positions and policy papers: Open working groups, work of the European Commission.

The event will be followed by a Wateregio closed door meeting.

More information to follow via e-mail.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Project idea for ENPI call - "Water communities"

Title of proposed project:

Water Communities -
Empowerment of water communities in the Mediterranean

ENPI. Deadline May 2009 (pending publication).


The goal of Water Communities is to empower the local organizations of water users in different fields in order to promote public participation and democratic water management, thus improving the performance of water management and the protection of the environment.

The creation of communities of irrigators and territorial boards of water users is a pre-requisite to define proper water prices, implementation of infrastructures, training of the operators (farmers, irrigators, technicians) and responsible local water management. At the same time, these structures enhance the civil society and the local democracies. These communities are particularly important in areas where water is scarce, and especially if important wetlands or natural sites are involved. Finally, the performance of water management and better irrigations are a motor for local economic development.

These actions require the involvement of National, Regional and Local Authorities in order to facilitate and develop a proper legislative framework. There are also traditional structures such as Water consuetudinary tribunals and others, existing in Arabic countries and in Spain. These structures could be promoted and protected via this project.

The project would include:
  • Analysis of needs: legislative framework, state of local technologies of water management, need of infrastructures, economic development.

  • Definition of “hot spots” or areas of urgent action (wetlands, protected areas, water bodies in risk of overexploitation, soils in risk of salinization, etc).

  • Creation and empowerment of local structures of participation.

  • Benchmark study and exchange of best practices.

  • Support to next steps of improvement of water management: Use of treated urban waste water in Spain, drip irrigation and irrigation planning in other partner countries, urban water management plans and other actions to be decided by the partners.

  • Creation of a transnational advisory and monitoring committee, whose mission will be providing with legal, technical and scientific advice and follow-up of the actions undertaken.

  • Gender approach: Promotion of the participation of women in all the actions.

  • Dissemination activities and awareness actions.

  • Strategic Environmental Assessment of the actions.

Rice crops in l'Albufera, Valencia. (c) http://www.eco-rice.net/

Partner consortium (so far):

Federación de Comunidades de Regantes de la Comunitat Valenciana.
Society for the Protection of the Nature in Lebanon.

Further partners being sought
Members of Wateregio network.

Budget foreseen: 2.000.000 €. Co-funded by ERDF in EU Member States, and by ENPI in Mediterranean partner countries.

Foreseen project duration: 18 months

Contact Valencian Region:
Mr Alfonso Alcolea – aalcolea@delcomval.be
Mr José Pascual –
Lebanon :
Ms Tala Al-Khatib –
Ms Dalia Al-Jawhary – dalia.jawhary@gmail.com

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

AER Summer School 2009 on Water

The Summer School of the AER will take place next 24-28 august 2009 in Valencia, Spain, organised jointly by the AER and the Fundación Comunidad Valenciana - Región Europea.

By bringing together decision makers, officials and young people, the Summer School intends to provide the tools to be able to cope with the challenges of water management.

The members of Wateregio are invited to participate actively via:

  • Proposition of speakers and activities.

  • Participation of politicians and young people.

  • Dissemination of projects in the School plaza (exhibition area).

The Summer School is oriented to regional decision-makers, elected politicians and experts from the different regional and local administrations who are interested in developing solutions for the water issues. Simultaneously, the Youth Summer School will bring young people from all Europe to work together in this issue, to promote sharing of experiences, expressing their opinion and better awareness to act as “water ambassadors” when back in their home regions.

The contents of the Summer School are grouped in four pools:

Pool 1. Water management: Regions need to provide innovative strategies to ensure safe water and sanitation for all. The workshops in this pool will tackle the problems faced by policy makers when they define plans and implement infrastructures.

Pool 2. Water and climate change. The availability of water will change and be affected by the climate. Draughts and floods will be more severe and recurrent. This will affect not only the economy and human life, but also the ecosystems and the biodiversity. The participants will work on research, mitigation and adaptation to climate change, preserving the natural environment.

Pool 3. Governance and communication. The social involvement is essential to manage water in a sustainable way. The participants will work on legislative and political measures, public participation, education and training, aiming to develop a new water culture in Europe.

Horizontal workshops: The horizontal workshops will invite the participants to propose their ideas in joint projects dealing with water, global issues and co-operation, and instruments to be developed by the AER in order to promote better water management all over Europe, such as a water award and a European Regional Charter for Water.

The Summer School will gather experts from all over Europe in each of the topics, organising roundtables and dynamic workshops. The program includes also daily activities, and study visits, discovering the Valencian experience in water management

If you are interested in receiving more information, please contact jpascual@delcomval.be with your name, region and country and e-mail adress.


Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Tragedy in Abruzzo

The network Wateregio express its sorrow for the victims of the terrible earthquakes happened yesterday and today in Italy.

The Mediterranean is an area of high sysmic risk, as the History records in every country. That is why we should strenghthen our commitment to co-operate in the field of risk prevention, considering floods but also applying similar methodologies to sysmic events.

This could result in better protection for our citizens: basic research, improvement of civil protection and rapid response mechanisms, awareness of residents and authorities, and more quality of buildings can be lines of future joint projects, that would add European value to the actions currently undertaken by our National, Regional and Local Authorities.

From this modest website we express our solidarity with the Region of Abruzzo and with its citizens.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Summary of the EU conference on Water, 2-3 April 2009

Notes from the EU conference on Water, held last 2nd and 3rd April:
  • The conference has done a review about the public participation in the draft River Basin Management Plans requested by the Water Framework Directive. Publication of the document COM (2009) 156 final, Report on art. 18.3 of the WFD on programmes of monitoring of water status.
  • Some questions: How to promote more and better participation? How to integrate the input of the public participation into the RBMP? Effective participation or participation pro forma?
  • Publication of the Communication COM (2009)147/4 White paper on adaptation to climate change.
  • The White paper on adaptation to climate change comes with the document SEC (2009) 386 Policy Paper on Water, Coasts and Marine issues.

Peter Gammeltoft (Head of Unit of Water, DG Environment, 2nd right) in the crossfire debate organised by Friends of Europe the 2nd April in the evening. Significant phrase: 'Prevention and combat of climate change has to do with energy and emissions; adaptation to climate change will have to do with water'.

More information:

Thursday, April 2, 2009

European Conference on Water

Commissioner Dimas during his intervention.
Radio café says that he will be Commissioner again, but not for environment.

Organised by the European Commission, the conference can be followed online via the link:

The documentation will be published in the website:

Members of WR currently attending: Region of Murcia, Emilia Romagna and Valencian Region.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Water infoday in Istria

The Istrian Region organised last 23rd April an information day on water in the framework of Wateregio. The information will be available soon in www.istra-istria.hr

The event was chaired by President of the Region, Mr Ivan Jakovčić, and counted on the presence of Mr Oriano Otočan, Regional Minister in charge of international collaboration and European integration, and Mr Juan Manuel Revuelta, General Director of the Fundación Comunidad Valenciana - Región Europea, who intervened as guest speaker.

A project forum corner in the end of the Infoday raised several project ideas in the following fields:

  • Possibility of TAIEX cooperation with Istrian region http://www.ec.taiex.eu/

  • Agriculture: Prevention of burning of agricultural waste, and valorisation as energy (IEE call).

  • Urban water supply: European network of cities for sustainable water consumption, including water saving and safety of drinking water in buildings.

  • Improving of quality of waste water that is spilled into water bodies.

  • Toursim: Standardization and greening processes in golf pitches.

  • Irrigation and other water uses: Capacity building and organizations of water users in the Mediterranean (Interreg and ENPI call).

  • Nature protection: Prevention of uncontrolled waste disposal and remediation of ecosystems such as wetlands and karstic caves

  • Nature protection: Project Eko Teens on awareness among youg people about the karstik ecosystems.
During the infoday, various topics on water in Istria were treated, together with EU programmes. The following themes were presented and discussed during the event: EU Funding strategies; European funding opportunities in the field of water (FP7, INTERREG); the INTERREG program; the FP7 program; best practices in water projects; tips for good participation in the EU water projects; support services in the field of EU programmes and cooperation activities; water Management.

From the political point of view, the network Wateregio was presented as a way to improve the participation of Mediterranean regions in EU water policy.

Contact person:

Dino Babić
Professional collaborator for the development of international projects
Department for International cooperation and EU integration
Istarska županija – Regione istriana
Region of Istria
Flanatička 29
HR-52100 Pula

Tel: +385 (0)52 372 177
Fax:+385 (0)52 372 178


Wednesday, March 4, 2009

El proyecto U@Marenostrum, participado por la Generalitat Valenciana, fue presentado en el eParticipation Day.

La Comisión Europea ha reunido en el edificio Charlemagne de Bruselas proyectos europeos que tratan de cerrar la brecha entre los ciudadanos y las instituciones europeas. La jornada eParticipation Day ha congregado a expertos europeos en participación ciudadana y sociedad de la información, con el objetivo de encontrar nuevas formas de comunicación pública a través de las tecnologías de la información.

Los ponentes instaron a los políticos y a los parlamentarios a explotar aquellas herramientas que permitan a los ciudadanos involucrarse en el proceso de toma de decisiones. Los expertos subrayaron que los ciudadanos se interesan por el proceso legislativo cuando sienten que su voz está siendo escuchada y se trata de un asunto que les afecta directamente.

Los proyectos europeos VoicE, VoiceS y U@Marenostrum, de los que forma parte la Generalitat Valenciana, han estado presentes en la exposición organizada de forma paralela a las discusiones, a las que se registraron 350 personas de 33 países. VoicE consiste en una potente herramienta de protección al consumidor, enfocada en los temas de energía, telecomunicaciones, nutrición, seguridad del juguete y observatorio del consumidor. VoiceS es la continuación de esta iniciativa, de forma que permita actualizar y mejorar la plataforma VoicE.

U@Marenostrum, aprobado en la última convocatoria del programa eParticipation, dará la oportunidad a los ciudadanos de participar en gestión de recursos hídricos y de protección medioambiental en la Rivera Francesa, la Comunitat Valenciana y las Islas Jónicas, a través de una herramienta de monitorización de la legislación comunitaria en vigor.

Para más información:




Monday, February 16, 2009

Mediterranean Declaration for the World Water Forum in Istanbul

Mediterranean Declaration on the European Water Vision
3rd December 2008, Castellón de la Plana, Valencian Region, Spain.
Complemented the 13th February 2009 in Evora, Portugal, by the Intermediterranean Commission of the CPRM

The European Water Vision contained in the document “Water for a Sustainable Europe – Our vision for 2030” drafted within the regional process for the World Water Forum of Istanbul, Intends to be the vision of all the Europeans and stakeholders, formulated from the point of view of the citizens and for the interest of everyone.

The Diversity is the strength of Europe, so it is necessary to complete the European Water Vision with the realities, challenges and opportunities of each of the European regions. The Political Bureau of the Intermediterranean Commission of the CPRM, gathered in Evora (Portugal) the 13th February 2009, raises the contributions and the point of view of the Mediterranean Regions to the European Water Vision.

The participants in the Mediterranean workshop held the 3rd of December in Castellón, Valencian Region (Spain), want to contribute with the Mediterranean point of view in the European Water Vision.

1. Nowhere like in the Mediterranean the water is recognized and valuated as common heritage and precious source of life, and never as a merchandise, as in the Mediterranean the water is scarce and irregular, the ecosystems are fragile and the needs and stresses on water are growing and are foreseen to increase.

2. The Water Framework Directive states that “Water is not a commercial product like any other but, rather, a heritage which must be protected, defended and treated as such”, defining the goal of protection of water. The implementation of the WFD faces different situations in each country, and this piece of legislation influences all EU and non-EU Member States.

3. The Mediterranean is a diverse space dealing with different politic, administrative, economic, natural and geographic realities (including islands and territories in analog situation) which makes that each region faces different priorities. Diverse conditions and needs require different solutions.

4. The predominant point is the interdependence, not only between States and Regions, but also between river basins and between the different uses given to the water inside each of them.

5. All scenarios show that the satisfaction of needs in a climate change environment can become increasingly difficult because of runoff decreases and cycle changes.

6. It is confirmed the need of having data, indicators and methodologies to compare and monitor the real situation of the water, given that the water is an essential resource and its current situation needs to be known with certainty.

7. The European basins in situation of water scarcity are mainly located in the Mediterranean. In these basins, additional water contributions need to be made through water transfers and, as the need may be, desalination. These additional supply measures can be adopted within an integrated and sustainable water planning, anticipating the solutions to adopt, considering the measures of water saving and efficiency as it is explained in the reports of the Committee of the Regions and the European Economic and Social Committee with regards to drought and water scarcity.

8. An integrated water management needs an integral institutional framework, with good legislation, good law enforcement, coordination and subsidiarity and improvement of the capabilities of the Public Administrations. The protection of groundwater and the integration of water issues in other policies, ensuring the horizontality to all the public Administrations, are identified as major challenges.

9. The local structures of water management for irrigation or other uses are a figure of water management specific to the Mediterranean, with historical institutions that are sometimes older than the States themselves, that may serve as example of experiences of participative and democratic management in the framework of a sustainable use of water.

10. The challenges to improve the public participation have to do mainly with legislation in some cases, better use of the technologies of information, awareness and organization of the different economic sectors to cooperate in the public decisions.

11. The specificity of the Mediterranean generates higher costs of water cycle management in all the sectors, compared with other areas of Europe. The main concerns are the quality of supplied water and the sensitivity of the most fragile sectors to the variations of water prices.

12. The Mediterranean receives flows of floating population that condition the planning of the demand and use of water. This generates additional stress on the water resources and additional costs in water supply, sanitation, treatment and protection of the water bodies that are difficult to assume by the local population. This is why the financial co-responsibility is necessary to recover the costs.

13. Regarding support technological research and innovation, the progress of water treatments and recycling, and modernization of irrigation systems are remarkable. However it is necessary to improve the access of the Mediterranean regions to funding for research and development, and for training of the different operators. The communication between economic operators to monitor and benchmark the improvements achieved, including best practices, is also necessary.

14. Although the Mediterranean citizens are increasingly aware of the water’s value, it is important to improve the education with regard to water in all the academic levels, according to each regional reality and with innovative techniques. It would be necessary to pay special attention to information and awareness to residents, tourists and people that move from one place to another.

15. Regarding to cooperation with third countries, it is necessary to pay attention to the sound water management both shores of the Mediterranean Sea, because as this is an issue that affects directly to the European coastal States.