WaterProtect starts WaterProtect Community

 

An active community of stakeholders and experts in addressing water management& agriculture challenges.

The WaterProtect project consortium hopes that its project results can be part of an EU wide strategy for water quality improvement. The creation of WaterProtect Community could facilitate this and reinforce the link of the WaterProtect actions with similar inovative measures in the EU.

Scope of the WaterProtect Community

Part of the concept of the project is development and animation of an active community of stakeholders and experts in addressing water management& agriculture challenges.  At the third Policy Conference organised by WaterProtect, organised as a webinar on April 2nd, 2020 the WaterProtect Community will be presented and launched.

 The scope of the community is structured on three areas of interest:

  • Policy implementation in the EU and national context

The new strategy of the EC – The European Green Deal- makes several references to addressing water concerns. The Commission will adopt in 2021 a zero pollution action plan for air, water and soil. It is the aim of the EC that the natural functions of ground and surface water must be restored. Part of the Farm to Fork strategic approach the EC aims to reduce the impact of food production on water and natural resources, while also addressing the food waste issues. The EC underlines that also digitalisation also presents new opportunities for distance monitoring of air and water pollution.

Starting with 2020, governments will work on the development of National Strategic Plans for the implementation of the CAP. As indicated in the EC Communication, “the Commission will work with the Member States and stakeholders to ensure that from the outset the national strategic plans for agriculture fully reflect the ambition of the Green Deal and the Farm to Fork Strategy”. These strategic plans will include policy objectives, measures (such as eco-schemes could reward farmers for improved environmental and climate performance, including improved nutrient management to improve water quality) and initiatives related to protection of water and use of water in agriculture.

The expertise of the WaterProtect community can be very useful to exchange information and make recommendations for implementation approaches.

  • Governance best practices

The experience accumulated in WaterProtect and other similar Horizon 2020 projects for the development of governance solutions, can be used and further enhanced to provide examples of good and effective practices in governance of water resources with the involvement of agricultural actors.

  • Developing new solutions and upscaling

The WaterProtect community of expertise can be a fertile ground for establishing collaborations and partnerships for the development of new solutions to protect water resources and to reduce impact from agricultural activities.

 

Objectives

The WaterProtect Community has the following objectives:

  • To identify and connect to key experts and stakeholders interested to design and further develop policy approaches that include water governance models with the involvement of agricultural systems
  • To stimulate interaction and to engagement with the WaterProtect policy related activities

  • To create the background for future partnerships and collaborations in the area of water&agriculture

Activities

The collaboration with WaterEurope could be structured in three stages:

Stage 1: Synergies

(March 2020)

Website: The Water Protect website will dedicate a space for the Water Protect Community of experts and stakeholders. It will allow news, publications of documents of interest and announcements on activities and consultations.

In keeping with the Water Europe activities of creating on-line collaborative platforms the WaterProtect community will connect to the clusters 5 Hybrid grey and green water infrastructure; cluster 6  Water Innovation Systems and cluster 9 Water Smart Rural Areas as well as the Working Group on agri-food.  Hence relevant WaterEurope partners and stakeholders can exchange with  the community.

ActionLabs to become living labs under Water Europe: Post project implementation, ActionLabs communities can consider to join the Water Europe community and become water living labs. The ActionLabs, could consider encouraging stakeholders in ActionLabs to become associate members of WaterEurope.

   

Stage 2: Policy recommendations  

(April - May 2020)

Consultation on policy recommendations for Policy implementation; Governance and Solutions: Following the three WaterProtect policy conferences, a policy recommendations document will be drafted (Task 7.2. of WaterProtect).  This document will be circulated to the Water Protect Community and experts will be offered the possibility to contribute to the EU policy (including the CAP) and national policy recommendations for drinking water management involving farming systems.

Scoping of Terms of Reference for an EIP Focus group on Water management &Agriculture: One of the tasks of WaterProtect is to elaborate a first draft for the Terms of Reference for a new EIP AGRI focus group on water and agriculture. This draft will be disseminated electronically within the Water Protect Community with the aim of collecting inputs on the scope and objectives. The WaterProtect Community will also be suggested as the primary source for selecting experts for the EIP AGRI Focus Group on water&agriculture.

   

Stage 3: Collaboration and future prospects

(May 2020)

Debate at the Water Protect final conference: During the closing conference of Water Protect, Action Labs leaders and Water Europe Cluster managers (cluster 5,6 and 9) will be invited to an exchange of opinions on the next steps for the network and the possible avenues for ensuring continuity of the collaboration.