This transition calls for a highly integrated water resources management concept. NeWater identifies key typical elements of the water management system and focuses its research on processes of transition of these elements to adaptive IWRM. Each key element is studied by novel approaches.

The complexity of water resource management poses many challenges. Water managers need to solve a range of interrelated water dilemmas, such as balancing water quantity and quality, flooding, drought, maintaining biodiversity and ecological functions and services, in a context where human beliefs, actions and values play a central role.

Furthermore, the growing uncertainties of global climate change and the long term implications of management actions make the problems even more difficult. NeWater addresses some of the present and future challenges of water management.

The project recognizes the value of highly integrated solutions and advocates integrated water resource management (IWRM) concepts. However, NeWater is based on the hypothesis that IWRM cannot be realized unless current water management regimes undergo a transition towards more adaptive water management.

NeWater Scientific Challenge
NeWater identifies key elements of current water management regimes and investigates their interdependence. Research is focused on transformation processes of these elements in the transition to adaptive integrated water resources management.

Key IWRM areas where NeWater delivered results include:

  • Governance in water management (methods to arrive at polycentric, horizontal broad stakeholder participation in IWRM).
  • Sectoral integration (integration of IWRM and spatial planning; integration with climate change adaptation strategies, cross-sectoral optimisation and cost-benefit analysis).
  • Scales of analysis in IWRM (methods to resolve water resource use conflicts; transboundary issues).
  • Information management (multi stakeholder dialogue, multi-agent systems modelling; novel monitoring systems for decision systems in water management).
  • Infrastructure (innovative methods for river basin buffering capacity; role of storage in adaptation to climate variability and climate extremes).
  • Finances and risk mitigation strategies in water management (new instruments, role of public-private arrangements in risk-sharing).
  • Stakeholder participation (promoting new ways of bridging science, policy and implementation).

Funder: EU – Sixth framework programme