BeWater partners present progress in identifying Water Management Options
Talk of Fuzzy Cognitive Maps, Gantt Charts and Mental Modelling might have you reaching rapidly for your project dictionary but behind the terminology lies some significant progress in the BeWater project over the recent months.
These and other elements of the project were presented and discussed at the BeWater Steering Committee meeting, which took place in Brussels from 4 – 6 February 2015.
Preliminary Fuzzy Cognitive Maps (FCMs) have been developed for the four River Basins, constituting a graphic representation of the main challenges, drivers and impacts of each basin. They allow stakeholders to indicate the relationship between the various factors and to give a relative value to each one, so that a visual and computable representation of the challenges facing the river basin may be determined and analysed. Water Management Options (WMOs) for each basin are being developed in parallel, and will be introduced in to the maps to evaluate their impact.
Case Study leaders (CREAF, CyI, INRGREF and IZVRS) presented the initial maps and narratives for their basin, which then formed the basis for a practical workshop to simplify and/or improve the maps. Next steps were introduced, which include using simple Cost Benefit Analysis and Multi-Criteria Analysis to identify the most appropriate WMOs for each River Basin.
The challenge was then to find the optimum tool to store the data generated by the FCM process and to facilitate WMO impact evaluation. Consortium partner JRC were tasked with providing such an application and, following collaboration with FCM Task Leader EFI, brought an innovative solution to the meeting. Mental Modeler (MM) is modelling software that helps individuals and communities capture their knowledge in a standardised format that can be used for scenario analysis. Mental Modeler, originally developed by US scientist Dr. Steven Gray, was chosen from various freely available tools, due to the options and functionality it offers and because it perfectly suits BeWater's information harmonisation needs. FCMs created by the River Basins will be harmonised in the MM software and then integrated into the Aquaknowdata portal, the platform used by the project, ensuring that the maps are interactive and facilitating testing of the impacts of different WMOs.
Defining the WMOs is one of the tasks carried out in Work Package 3 (WP3); once determined, these options will be further analysed under WP4, and will form the basis for the River Basin Adaptation Plans. In order to ensure that these complicated, interrelated tasks might all be completed within the project time frame, a detailed Gantt chart for WP3 and WP4 was developed by project partners PROSPEX, with inputs from all relevant partners. The finished chart, a labour of logic and patience, was unveiled at the meeting and greatly facilitates time planning for the series of tasks required to achieve project objectives.
Leaders from the four Case Studies also presented the Awareness Campaign, which took place in each of the River Basins before and after Christmas. The Campaign, coordinated by GWP-MED, is aimed at sensitising both the general public, as well as more specialised audiences, to encourage social awareness and capacity building in water management challenges. A series of tailor-made materials were produced, including posters and roll-up banners, which form mobile exhibitions touring schools, cultural centres and local authority premises.Finally, there was a positive development in the WP5 task for collaboration with the World Youth Parliament for Water (WYPW). WYPW President, Bart Devos, gave a presentation on some of the work carried out by the organisation and an upcoming initiative in Tunisia which will identify youth delegates to attend the World Water Forum and COP21 in Paris in December 2015. Jo Van Cauwenberge, Director of GoodPlanet Belgium, presented educational work carried out in schools and companies in Belgium and across the globe since 1997. GoodPlanet will also begin to work in Tunisia, with a pilot project for their schools programme in the south of the country and support for a WYPW chapter in the country.
In subsequent discussion among Consortium partners, it was agreed that the focus for the BeWater collaboration with WYPW will be to establish youth as a valid and recognised stakeholder, a status not frequently or widely recognised. Working alongside Bart Devos and the COP21 youth delegates, BeWater will establish a pilot initiative in Tunisia to support the understanding of the stakeholder process among youth representatives and to work with them to build up a profile of, and recognition for, youth as a key stakeholder group. An initial meeting will take place in Tunisia in March and it is hoped that the youth delegates will attend the BeWater General Meeting, also to be held in Tunisia, in the autumn.
Photos: Sarah Adams (EFI)