Astien groundwater aquifer has been subjected to over-use due to good water quality and over-extraction. To address this, SMETA, a syndicate of local authorities, was established to organise the management of the aquifer. Key lesson learnt is that an organisation like SMETA can prove to be a successful forum for groundwater protection.
The EU Water Framework Directive requires measures to achieve good status of all waters by 2015. In Germany, it is not the federal government that is in charge of implementation but it is the responsibility of the county. To meet the objective, transboundary exchange of experiences was promoted by broadening the range of methods and tools available to water managers. From this study, it is evident that interaction with stakeholders plays a central role.
The EU Water Framework Directive requires all EU member states to achieve satisfactory water quality of all waters by 2015. Although each country is individually responsible, cooperation over transnational water resources is required. In the Körös/Crisuri river basin, a project was initiated using the expertise and experience of Hungary and Romania, involving all key stakeholders. The key lesson is the importance of public participation.
Körös/Crisuri transboundary River Basin is in need of more transboundary cooperation and coordination to ensure sustainable management of the resource. To address this, Romania and Hungary jointly developed a strategy for integrated water resources management, aiming to strengthen cooperation. The key lesson is that access to, and management of data is at the core of decision-making in the case of transboundary water management.
The Upper Tisza basin requires international cooperation for its management, recognised through bilateral agreements. To further improve management, action was taken to develop a complex joint flood and water management development plan. This project is being implemented in several stages, ranging from elaboration of methods, description of ecological status to the establishment of environmental objectives to improve the current status. The key lesson is the value of bilateral effort in water management.
The largest inner delta area with an almost natural status left in the entire Upper Danube Valley rests in the Szigetköz Region, Hungary. The Danube’s natural landscape in this area was characterized by continuously changing dead branches and side arms, beds changing their location, deteriorating and building islands and alluvial cones. As a result, the ecological environment and human settlements of the area were consistently destabilized. In 2011, the North-Transdanubian Water Directorate (EDUVIZIG) started a water infrastructure project entitled the “Ecological development of water supply system in the protected site and floodplain areas of Szigetköz”. This project shares valuable experience on how to restore the natural ecosystem while securing provision of drinking water and irrigation and enhancing flood protection mechanisms.
The Meuse and the Scheldt river basins are subjected to pollution and seasonal water shortages, as well as political clash of interests regarding maritime access. Action was taken to solve these issues by the Belgian government. However, although an agreement was eventually made, political issues made the process complex. From this case, it is apparent that a cross-sectoral approach that looks beyond the water sector is often instrumental in developing attractive package deals.
Dniester river basin is a transboundary basin shared by Moldova and Ukraine. Throughout the Soviet era, the water quality deteriorated severely. After the USSR was dissolved, a bilateral agreement was signed by Moldova and Ukraine on the joint use and protection of water resources. This cooperation framework is based on the contributions of network of local authorities. This case illustrates the importance of cooperation among all key stakeholders.
In the Danube hydrographic basin, agricultural practices continue to be the main source of water pollution. A pilot project “Best Agricultural Practices” was initiated focusing on e.g. nutrient management, conservation tillage and manure management. Awareness campaigns were initiated, training and education of farmers were emphasised. The key lesson is that these projects should be complimented by other technical and investment measures.
Management of the Upper Vistula basin is guided through the project Continuation of the Implementation of the Water Framework Directive, which is a joint French-Polish initiative. This project provides avenues for exchange of practical experiences between Polish and French partners, mobilises different stakeholders within basin borders. The most important lesson learned is to remember that documents should be transparent and comprehensible.