STRYMON - Ecosystem Based Water Resources Management to Minimize Environmental Impacts from Agriculture Using State of the Art Modelling Tools in Strymonas Basin

LIFE03 ENV/GR/000217

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Contact details:

Project Manager: Dimitris PAPADIMOS
Tel: 30 2310 473320
Fax: 30 2310 471795
Email: papadimos@ekby.gr

Project description:


The main problems of the Strymonas river basin in Central Macedonia, Greece, relate to water management. The problems are threefold: There is loss of water due to an incomplete or damaged irrigation distribution network; there are undesirable alterations in the hydro-period of the ecosystem of the artificial reservoir of Lake Kerkini (a Ramsar site) and finally; there is saltwater intrusion in the river during irrigation seasons because of diminished discharge.

These problems are due to the current water management and farming practices which have serious impacts on the status of the surface waters, groundwater and coastal ecosystems. Other problems of the Strymonas river basin relate to diffuse sources of pollution, specifically nutrients (NO3 – N and PO4 – P) in the surface waters resulting from intensive agricultural practices. The reuse of drainage water for irrigation in turn leads to eutrophication of the Strymonikos Gulf and salinization of the downstream agricultural soils.


The LIFE Environment project had the overall objective of promoting the sustainable management of surface waters and groundwater in the Strymonas river basin, thereby assisting in the implementation of the Water Framework Directive. Specific objectives included:

  • Use of state-of-the-art modelling tools for assessing the impacts of the agricultural sector on the status of the surface and groundwater in the basin
  • Use of optimisation methods to elaborate and suggest solutions for the sustainable management, protection and restoration of all water bodies in the basin
  • Dissemination of both the methodological framework and the results of the project to local and national authorities, as well as to the scientific community.

  • Results

    The project was satisfactorily completed. The beneficiary succeeded in establishing a hydrology-hydraulic modelling tool (MIKE SHE / MIKE 11) for the Strymonas basin. This tool was used to calculate the quantity of water in the basin, the spatial and temporal needs as well as losses of water for irrigation.

    Satellite-image-analysis methods were applied for crop identification. Remote sensing fed MIKE SHE / MIKE 11 with data on the spatial distribution of the crops and in turn, the model calculated the real irrigation needs in the Strymonas basin and the applied quantities of fertilisers and pesticides.

    To provide the necessary ‘on the ground’ data for the simulation model, a water quality (16 stations) and quantity (12 stations) monitoring network was established. Real-time measurements were made possible by the invention of an automatic water flow measuring device, which the project designed, developed and installed near the mouth of the Strymonas river.

    For the assessment of alternative solutions for the sustainable management of water resources and agro-ecosystems, a farm management survey was conducted over a random sample of 250 farms in the Strymonas basin. Data from this survey were analysed in order to assess farm management practices in the basin and to propose alternative plans for the re-arrangement of local agriculture. From this procedure, 25 optimum alternative solutions / scenarios were produced and two of them were considered as the most appropriate, following consultations with local stakeholders. Data from the two re-arrangement plans were fed into the simulation model that in turn calculated, inter alia, the quantity of water required for irrigation. In both plans, water volume was lower by around 20% than the volume currently required.

    Many dissemination activities were organised throughout the project's duration, targeting mainly the local and regional stakeholders.

    Disclaimer : This « results » section should be considered as a draft until the Commission has completed its evaluation .


Environmental issues addressed:


Water - River basin management


environmental impact of agriculture‚  river management‚  environmental assessment

Natura 2000 sites

Not applicable



Coordinator The Goulandris Natural History Museum Greek Biotope/Wetland Centre (EKBY)
Type of organisation NGO-Foundation
Description The Greek Biotope/Wetland Centre (or EKBY in Greek initials) has its roots in the Goulandris Natural History Museum. The Museum was established in Athens in 1964 as a non-profit institute for research, public awareness, information, and education in the conservation of the natural environment.

EKBY's overall objective is to promote the sustainability of renewable natural resources in Greece and in the rest of Europe and the Mediterranean region.

Partners Prefectural Self-Administration of Serres, Direction of Land Reclamation – Development Agency of Serres Association for the Protection of Lake Kerkini


Project reference LIFE03 ENV/GR/000217
Duration 01-SEP-2003 to 31-AUG -2007
Total budget 1,090,183.00 €
EU contribution 531,505.00 €
Project location Kentriki Makedonia(Ellas)


Read more:

Project web site Project's website (GR/EN)
Publication: Case study SHYLOC Implementation in Strymonas Basin. Volume 1 ...
Publication: Case study Οδηγός διαχείρισης για το φοινικόδασος του Βάι. (3 ...
Publication: Layman report Layman report (EN)
Publication: Research findings Title: "Evaluation of the environmental impact of an irrigation network in a Ramsar area of the Greek part of the Strymonas river basin using a coupled MIKE SHE/MIKE 11 modelling system" (http://journal.gnest.org/sites/default/files/Submissions/gnest_01434/gnest_01434_proof.pdf) Author: CHALKIDIS I., SEFERLIS M., SAKELLARIOU-MAKRANTONAK Year: 2016 Editor: Global NEST Journal, Vol. 18 No of pages: 11
Publication: Research findings "ΕΡΕΥΝΗΤΙΚΗ ΕΚΘΕΣΗ. Ανάλυση των εμπλεκομένων κοινω ...


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