Water experts from around Europe gathered in Brussels last month to exchange experience and knowledge about the important lessons from LIFE funded actions in support of the EU’s Water Framework Directive (WFD).
European water resources continue to experience significant levels of stress from a variety of sources, and October’s “Water for life – LIFE for water” conference explored the range of positive contributions that LIFE projects have been making to help achieve WFD goals concerning good ecological status of EU waters by 2015 and EU seas by 2020.
The conference brought together over 150 EU water specialists and provided a valuable opportunity to exchange know-how about managing both the quality and quantity of Europe’s water. Plenary presentations included confirmation from European Commission speakers of ongoing priorities for WFD stakeholders. These noted references to the River Basin Management Plans that, once finalised by the end of this year, will provide up to date intelligence and a comprehensive set of water management tools covering the entire EU 27.
Other issues attracting interest from delegates included the concept of water ‘proofing’ of policies and measures being implemented in Member States or developed at EU level. ‘Water-proofing’ was suggested as a beneficial complement to the potential introduction of ‘climate-proofing’ and could act in a similar way by providing an ex-ante mechanism for checking (or ‘proofing’) the compatibility of economic, social and environmental policy proposals with WFD agendas.
Much of the conference focused on the lessons from LIFE’s portfolio of water-related projects. Staff from the projects provided their perspectives and experiences through presentations grouped into four main topics, covering: adaptation to climate change, hydromorphological alterations of water bodies, eutrophication and marine environment issues.
LIFE projects from 12 Member States were presented in these topic areas including:
Feedback received from Water for LIFE participants about the relevance of these projects, and from the conference in general, was very positive, and similar LIFE dissemination events are expected to be staged in the future to showcase other LIFE developments in different nature or environment fields.