EMWIS : Better management of knowledge on water in the Mediterranean

New Spanish Presidency for EMWIS
The Chairmanship of the Steering Committee of the Euro-Mediterranean Water Information System (EMWIS) was transferred from Italy to Spain during the committee meeting last September in Valencia: the president of the Jucar Basin Authority, Ms. Maria Ángeles Ureña, succeeded to Mr. Walter Mazzitti.
 
The Committee approved the development priorities for the coming years. They include:
  • Continuing the development of National Water Information Systems in the Mediterranean countries;
  • Boosting joint working groups, with experts from the EU (in particular those in the CIS: Common Implementation Strategy of the Water Framework Directive), on issues of common interest, such as the reuse of treated wastewater, solutions to fight against water scarcity and degradation of the quality of water resources...
  • Developing synergies with regional and national political processes such as the Water Strategy for the Western Mediterranean (5+5): a preparatory meeting was held as a side event of the Steering Committee;
  • Preparing new projects leading to achievements directly usable in the countries;
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The Water Directors of the 13 countries present reiterated their commitment to continue their joint activities within EMWIS platform, highlighting its uniqueness in institutional exchanges between all the Mediterranean countries.  
 
The Mediterranean Water Knowledge Platform (UfM)
Following the unanimous approval of the project by 43 member countries of the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM) in April 2014, the first meeting of the project Steering Committee was held in Valencia (Spain).
 
The four pilot countries of the Southern Mediterranean (Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco and Tunisia) presented the work progress made for the implementation of National Water Information Systems shared by these countries' institutions and in the drafting of white papers that can guide policies for integrated water resources management.
In addition to the project sponsors, the International Office for Water, the Mediterranean Water Institute and the technical coordinators (EMWIS and MENBO), the Water Directorates of ten Mediterranean countries participated in this Steering Committee as well as the European Environment Agency, the Mediterranean Action Plan, the Water Center of the Arab League and the Mediterranean Center for Integration.
The project is now entering an active phase of looking for funding of its regional activities. Indeed, the regional component of the project is open to all Northern, Southern and Eastern Mediterranean countries and aims to provide guides, tools, training, exchange of experiences and finally the demonstration of data flow for international reporting.
 


Innovation to meet the Mediterranean water challenges
The Mediterranean region is facing many challenges in sustainable water resources management. Many solutions have been developed by research centers, but the transition to a large-scale deployment is delayed due to the lack of field validation in real size.
The European Union, with its “Innovation Program for Water”, is supporting real-size water demonstration projects involving laboratories, companies and end users.
EMWIS takes part in four of these projects, with a high potential for the region, to:
  • Advise farmers on their irrigation practice on a daily basis, but also on the planning of coming crops that will soon be possible thanks to an online expert system implemented by “OPIRIS” (www.opiris.eu);
  • Solve the three problems of feeding populations, energy efficiency and water efficiency, the ”WEAM4i” project implements solutions for intelligent irrigation management (weam4i.eu);
  • Make large Mediterranean tourist resorts water-self sufficient, which remains a very long-term goal, but the “demEAUmed” project is testing solutions for water treatment and control for that purpose (www.demeaumed.eu) ;
  • In the Mediterranean, dams are important for irrigation, drinking water supply and flood control, but their management is complex. The ”SAID” project proposes a set of tools for monitoring, control and early warning related to water quality, hydrometeorology for floods, management and maintenance of structures (www.said-project.eu).