Deliverable 6.4

Abstract: Scoping report on the possible mitigating, adaptive and restoration options for each watershed

A key aim of REFRESH is to support the of design cost-effective management strategies to ensure freshwaters comply with the EU Water Framework and Habitat Directives. Within the project a scoping exercise was planned to identify potential mitigation measures to improve water quality through collaboration with local stakeholders. In this context, a stakeholder engagement process has been designed and developed in six case study catchments. A series of workshops were held aimed at identifying and discussing mitigation measures at the sub-catchment level. This Deliverable summarizes the methods and findings of these workshops.

Workshop participants were chosen following the guidelines devised within REFRESH (Varjopuro et al., 2011) and comprised farmers, nature conservation and regulatory agencies, representatives of the water industry and other industries (fishing, quarries, etc.), officials from municipalities, etc. Workshop objectives were addressed through three sets of activities: (1) discussion of water quality problems in the sub-catchment and the sources of these pressures, (2) discussion of measures to alleviate these problems and perceptions of their cost and effectiveness, and (3) discussion of climate change and its effect on water quality and adaptation measures. This was done through a combination of plenary discussions and break-out group activities.

Discussions showed that nutrient pollution was the most widely cited problem generally in all sub-catchments, while agricultural activity and sewage treatment were identified as the major sources of pollution. Those problems identified often had a contextual perspective, while other sources of pollution include fishery management of ponds (CZ), housing developments and private septic tanks (Thame), forestry, quarries, septic tanks and an increase in the numbers of migratory geese (Dee). Divergences in contextual factors and in the feasibility, scope and perceived effectiveness of mitigation action, produced a variety of solutions, showing that there is not a common path to compliance.

Workshop participants were able to develop a consensus on the potential effects of climate change. On the other hand (with very few exceptions), stakeholders seem to have a rather contemporary perception of conditions and cannot project solutions in the form of “climate change proofing” of mitigation measures. Also, in some cases, other issues (such as future developments in agricultural policy) were perceived as being more immediately important compared to climate change. This finding indicates the need for more coherent and rigorous efforts by policy makers (at all levels, i.e. international, national, regional, local) to raise awareness and initiate the detailed investigation of climate change response options.

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